Rambus has withdrawn its request to investigate a number of claims that GPU chip manufacturer nVidia was infringing on its patents.
We don’t want to go so far as to say Rambus is the epitome of a patent troll, but since its foundation in 1990′s, it still has never owned a chip manufacturing facility and merely exists as a business to develop and file patents and licence its “IP”. Coupled with its often aggressive litigation of practically any company that dare use a similar ingredient, the term is arguably suiting.
It’s “IP Protection” methods have been source of scrutiny by a few government agencies such as the EU and US Courts, but so far hasn’t received much more than a slap on the wrist.
This time last year, (July 2008), Rambus announced they would be pursuing legal action against NVIDIA for allegedly infringing on 17 of Rambus’ patents relating to memory controllers. The lawsuit claimed that the company had infringed on patents held on SDR, DDR (+2,3) and various GDDR SDRAM across 6 of NVIDIA product lines. At the time, Rambus stated they would be seeking an injunction which would require NVIDIA to cease sales of the possibly infringing products as well as monetary damages, however they would be interested in settling out of court. Rambus claimed they had been attempting to work with NVIDIA to for many years to secure proper licensing for the technologies.
News from the wire this morning carries with it a surprising tale:
NVIDIA today announced that Rambus has asked an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC) to terminate the investigation of NVIDIA relating to four patents stemming from a complaint filed in November 2008. Rambus has conceded that NVIDIA products do not infringe on its four patents before the ITC, and has also asked for termination of several claims from a fifth patent in the ITC action.
“We are pleased Rambus has recognized the weakness of these patents and claims,” stated David Shannon, NVIDIA executive vice president and general counsel. “These withdrawals represent essentially half of the patents and one third of the claims asserted against us, and we look forward to addressing the remainder of the case.”
The current ITC litigation originally included nine patents involving memory controllers related to graphics processors. On June 2, 2009, NVIDIA publicly announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had rejected 41 claims, in seven patents, which Rambus had asserted in the ITC action against NVIDIA.
So… now they’re down to just a dozen.