In the sprit of the season, Rambus Inc. is giving out another round of subpoenas to all of its friends in the tech industry. Most interesting among the defendants perhaps is nVidia, who only months ago signed a licensing agreement with Rambus to end an ITC blockade of its products, (virtually their whole portfolio), which infringed on Rambus’s patents. Round 2, or 3, or 400ish… Ding!
Joining Nvidia on the stand will be representatives from Broadcom, LSI, MediaTek, STMicroelectronics, and Freescale. Not specifically named, but also on this hook this time are companies whose products incorporate the infringing silicon produced by the mentioned offenders for importation and sale in the United States. This potentially huge pool of wrongdoers produce such products as personal computers, workstations, servers, routers, mobile phones and other handheld devices, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, motherboards, add-in cards, hard drives and modems. Basically if Rambus gets its way, your local Fry’s store won’t be able to legally stock anything but Red Bull, Bawls and caffeine molecule t-shirts.
At the heart of this legal conquest are two groups of Rambus held patents dubbed Dally and Barth. Semiconductor product features that infringe on the Dally portfolio include: PCI Express, certain SATA, certain SAS, and DisplayPort interfaces. On trial in the Barth bag are products incorporating DDR, DDR2, DDR3, mobile DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR2, and GDDR3 memory controllers. Thankfully, your 3.5″ floppy drive does not appear to be in hot water… yet.
Currently this is more or less in the “wake-up call” stage, as the ITC (International Trade Commission) must review the allegations and decide whether or not to halt importation of virtually any electronic gizmo worth having. This process will take 30-45 days, most likely to prevent Rambus from becoming the law firm who stole Christmas.
Any bets on how long before Rambus gets a patent on taking people to patent court?S|A