Rambus on Thursday said it had signed a patent license deal with Broadcom. In conjunction with the five-year agreement, the two companies have settled a legal battle that began last year when Rambus sued Broadcom and five other semiconductor makers of copying its memory technology as well peripheral connectivity technology. No other details of the agreement or settlement have been released.
For the past ten years, Rambus has derived a significant portion of its revenues not from product sales but by suing other companies over alleged usage of its intellectual property. In December, 2010, Rambus initiated such legal actions against Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek, NVIDIA. and STMicro. Rambus filed complaints in the US District Court of California as well as the International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that the companies had copied Rambus technology for DDR memory, including GDDR memory for graphics.
Rambus also claimed that they had used common connection standards such as DisplayPort, PCI Express, SAS, and SATA, for which Rambus has claimed partial ownership through patents which Rambus bought from Velio in 2003. The cases against the other defendants are still underway.
The deal does give Rambus a minor win in its litigation efforts after a major defeat in November. Last month, a California jury had ruled against Rambus in a suit initiated against Micron and Hynix in 2009. In that case, Rambus had claimed that the two companies had conspired to engage in anti-competitive behavior against it, and was seeking direct and tripled punitive damages that could have amounted to $4 billion.
In May, a US Appeals court ruled that Rambus was guilty of destroying documents related to Rambus' separate federal case against Hynix and Micron.