Rambus, a company well known for the aggressive protection of their intellectual property, has been successful in a patent investigation launched against NVIDIA in 2008.
The investigation, headed by the US International Trade Commission, alleged that NVIDIA, as well as its customers including Asus, BFG, Biostar, Diablotek Inc., EVGA, Giga-Byte, Hewlett-Packard, MSI, Palit, Pine Technology (XFX) Ltd., and Sparkle infringed on memory controller patents held by Rambus and found on graphics processors, application processors, media and communications processors, and chipsets.
Yesterday, the ITC sided with Rambus and found that NVIDIA infringed on nine of the companies patents. The ITC has issued a Limited Exclusion Order, which, while technically banning the import and sale of infringing products, does allow NVIDIA to post a bond of 2.65% of the products value and continue importing and selling for the next 60 days.
The ruling on the injunction will be forwarded to USA President, Barrack Obama for Presidential review.
NVIDIA has promised consumers it will continue to produce and ship products, while appealing the ruling. However, there is a possibility that the fees could be passed on to consumers and supply in the USA markets of some NVIDIA products may dwindle. If NVIDIA is unable to successfully appeal the ruling or have changes made during the review it may be forced to come to a financial settlement with Rambus, cutting deep into their revenue and ultimately driving up prices.
Roughly a year ago, the US Patent office dismissed multiple Rambus patent infringement allegations. Approximately 96% of Rambus’s $113 million dollar revenue in 2009 came from patent licensing royalties.