Print 13 comment(s) - last by Zoomer.. on Mar 20 at 9:22 PM

Hynix claims that Rambus' patents are invalid because Rambus is reinventing patents made by other companies

We previously reported on Rambus' latest legal activities, with Micron being the last company to be taken to court. Hynix has now become the top bearer of legal bad news -- Rambus claims that Hynix is infringing on a number of DRAM patents.

In a turn of events however, Hynix is countering the Rambus suits, stating that many of Rambus' patents, are based on a collection of old ideas and older patents which are owned by other companies and were filed long ago. In conjunction with these previously patented ideas, Hynix says that Rambus combines them with new ideas to file for patents. According to Hynix counsel, the problem is that patents were granted to Rambus even when the patents encompassed prior art and concepts. Using an analogy, one Hynix lawyer stated that it was as if Rambus built a house but then claimed that the hammers and nails were also its invention.

So far, the Hynix case isn't proceeding in-depth in either direction, but Rambus has a long list of court successes in its portfolio. The company is at the forefront of memory intellectual properties development since its inception and its technologies are used in a wide array of applications from a myriad of companies. Most companies that have been taken to court by Rambus end up paying fines to Rambus in the multi-millions of dollars with ongoing royalties. Analysts are saying that if Hynix manages to convince the jury in this case that Rambus' patents are invalid due to overlapping patents, it could very well be the saving grace for other DRAM companies.

Despite these claims, Hynix itself is in hot water for allegedly participating in DRAM price fixing. Last year, both Hynix and Samsung faced charges by the US Department of Justice for conspiring to fix prices, which affected many large system builders and OEMs. Micron was left uncharged after it helped the US DOJ with the investigation -- a move many critics claim was unfavorably bias. Rambus argues that Hynix and other DRAM companies are also conspiring to "starve" the company to death by dragging out these court actions as well as refusing to pay. Rambus counsel claims that Hynix, along with several other companies, already committed illegal activities prior to this case and therefore further illegal activities would be very plausible. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte said that he would allow Rambus to explain its "starving" case.

Hynix is the first memory company so far to challenge Rambus' patents in this manner. However, Rambus has extremely valid arguments on its hands because of Hynix's previous illegal activities in which last year it paid over $185 million for. Unfortunately for Hynix, the courts are not looking at its tarnished record with smiling faces.

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IBM and RAMBUS Stole the ideas. More so IBM
By Chumley on 3/18/2006 3:20:05 PM , Rating: 2
Basically if I could have afforded a patent back then I these technologies would have infringed on my patents. Instead I hold a copyright that IBM stole the original idea from.

RE: IBM and RAMBUS Stole the ideas. More so IBM
By masher2 on 3/19/2006 2:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
> "Instead I hold a copyright that IBM stole the original idea from."

You can't copyright ideas, sorry. You'd be a bit more credible if you knew at least the basics of intellectual property law.

By Zoomer on 3/20/2006 9:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you can have their patents invallidated for prior art.

That is, if you published that beforehand.

By masher2 on 3/19/2006 2:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
Furthermore, I have to point out that Data General patented a type of multi-ported RAM back in 1981 and IBM filed a similar one a year later. So the idea itself wasn't even new in the 1980s...unless there was something unique in your implementation, you wouldn't have even been able to receive a patent.

The Bum from the simpsons.
By Chumley on 3/18/2006 5:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
Luckily I live slightly better than the bum. I really dont know how the law works for something like this. I would agree to a polygraph and I do have documentation that supports my claims from that time.

RE: The Bum from the simpsons.
By surt on 3/18/2006 6:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately the law is unlikely to provide you any protection. Unless IBM/RAMBUS actually literally took your schematics, and copied them, then there is no copyright violation (there is no copyright problem with them coming to the same essential design that you did, as long as they really did the work themselves). If your copyright preceded their patent, then potentially you could ask the patent office to overturn their patents on the basis of prior art, but that wouldn't involve any money coming your way, just a loss of possible future money for ibm and rambus.

RE: The Bum from the simpsons.
By Chumley on 3/18/2006 7:05:41 PM , Rating: 2
My copyright would pre-date the patents. Thats interesting. I presented the idea to IBM months before they aquired a patent on VRAM. The guy I spoke with stated he will bring my idea to an engineer and get back to me however I never heard from them.

RE: The Bum from the simpsons.
By dream caster on 3/18/2006 10:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
Just contact Hynix lawyers and I think they'll be much interested.

So they invented it? I dont think so.
By Chumley on 3/18/2006 2:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
Funny in the 80's I invented a Dual Channel D-Ram I called RDRAM (Readable Dynamic Random Access Memory) that I couldnt afford to patent it but did a cheap copyright. Simply put it had 2 channels one for READ/WRITE the second for READ only. The idea is that other portions of the system wouldnt have to interrupt the CPU from doing its operations to read memory. Items like the Graphics could be drawn from the Read only portion of the RAM freeing the CPU from being interrupted every time the screen required a redraw. I did this because the Commodore 64 was faster if you disable video while doing your calculations. I approached IBM with that and about a year later IBM produced V-RAM now RAMBUS comes along with thier version. If anyone is aware of an attorney that would take my case based upon a copyright and not a patent then please tell me I certainly feel ripped off by IBM and RAMBUS.

By aGreenAgent on 3/18/2006 3:06:06 PM , Rating: 2

Real world episode of The Simpsons
By Assimilator87 on 3/18/2006 3:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
You're like that bum who was the original creator of Itchy and Scratchy. Maybe you'll find justice and end up with a solid gold house and a rocket car =P

By ghuoof on 3/19/2006 8:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
he also made "ku klux klam" and "disgruntled goat" i believe

By PrinceGaz on 3/18/2006 4:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
After the story a few days ago where a Rambus "senior principal engineer" talked about FB-DIMM and what it could offer, it's good to see that it is still the lawyers who do most of the work there.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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