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An excerpt from the Rambus ruling in April
Rambus may still receive $133M USD opposed to the $307M originally agreed upon, but the company is far from done fighting lawsuits

Earlier this year Rambus won a staggering $307M USD civil award against Hynix claiming the company infringed on its intellectual property.  Specifically, Rambus claimed that Hynix used techniques for producing memory that were proprietary to Rambus.  On Friday morning, Judge Ronald Whyte of Northern District of California overturned this award (PDF).

The latest statement from the court claimed "For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' motion for a new trial on the issue of damages is GRANTED unless Rambus files notice with the court within thirty (30) days of this order accepting remittitur of the jury award to $133,584,129 for damages through December 31, 2005."

The focal point for this overturn is due to discrepancies of the actual amount of DRAM sales during the time period Hynix infringed on Rambus IP.  Rambus at this point may either accept the lesser award of $133.6M USD or begin a new trial against Hynix.

Despite the interconnections between Hynix and Rambus, this slew of IP lawsuits are not related to the price fixing sentencing from earlier this year where four Hynix executives were given jail time. Within the past year every major DRAM manufacturer has faced litigation from Rambus, with the exception of the company's primary manufacturing partner Samsung.  Rambus has also filed suits claiming that all of the major DRAM providers artificially manipulated pricing on DRAM to hurt RDRAM sales -- with fairly damning evidence on the company website (PDF) -- again with the exception of Samsung.  On Friday 34 states filed anti-trust suits against most  major DRAM providers claiming the companies colluded to artificially inflate memory pricing, which is illegal in the US. Once again, Samsung was absent from this volley of litigation as well.

More can be seen from the official Rambus Litigation Update page.  The company currently has twelve outstanding major cases to follow.

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By masher2 on 7/18/2006 3:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
> Is it pretty inevitable since nanotubes discovery that they will be used in cooling applications? Hell yes. Did someone smart already patent pretty much every possible application of this? Yes, they did. I have checked because i intended to do the same..."

The point is that an obvious, inevitable application is unpatentable. USPTO rules forbid granting patents except for "nonobvious" applications. Unfortunately, the patent office is so poorly staffed and underworked these days that they grant pretty much anything and everything. If its later challenged, they'll often go back and reverse their earlier decision....or not. There is little rhyme or reason to their decisions as of late.

> "And to the guy who said RDRAM sucked at gaming, id love to see you pull up some proof... I850 + PC1066 was the dominant gaming platform until I875 went mainstream "

On this, you're pretty much correct. Still, the performance advantage was tiny, and the drawbacks huge. Much higher heat, inability to get large sticks, heavily limited selection of motherboards and chipsets...and a far, far higher price.

> "The cost was intentional, and rambus has documents to prove it (linked in this news article)."

I read the documents, and I don't see any smoking gun for Rambus's case. I certainly see evidence of improper contacts. Several manufacturers contacting each other directly for pricing, as opposed to getting it through public sources. I also see Hynix in particularly in a collusion role to raise prices, even more clearly illegal.

But a conspiracy to kill Rambus? All I see is one guy at Micron (?) (lturner, no title), with a one-liner about DDR to drive Rambus out of the market through lower prices. But if you follow through the responses from everyone else at Micron (and the other manufacturers) you seem the results of all their contacts as being to *raise* prices.

So in summary, there is clear evidence of acts illegal under US law. But Rambus's allegations are a whole different ball of wax.

Remember that Rambus isn't a memory manufacturer. They sell IP only. Micron sells chips, not IP-- they're in a different market. They're not allowed to conspire to remove a competitor...but they are certainly allowed to promote one memory standard above another. They're even allowed to collude to that end...though I don't even see evidence of that.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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