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Rambus files new round of patent suits

Posted: 03 Dec 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:interconnect? patent? memory interfaces? controllers?

Rambus Inc. is asking U.S. courts to keep some of the top chipmakers from importing a wide range of chips with the filing of several patent infringement suits. The companies are Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek, Nvidia and STMicroelectronics.

Two patent portfolios owned by Rambus are involved. The first is the Dally1 portfolio of William Dally, currently chief technologist at Nvidia. Rambus acquired the patents in 2003 when it bought technology assets from Velio Communications, a company founded by Dally.

The complaint is a broad one, citing core technology in the Dally patents that Rambus claims cover widely used interconnects such as PCIe, Serial ATA, Serial Attached SCSI and DisplayPort. The second portfolio is called the Barth portfolio, covering a broad set of memory interfaces including DDR, DDR2, DDR3, mobile DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR2, and GDDR3 memory controllers.

The complaint also asks the ITC to bar import into the U.S. of any systems products that include allegedly infringing chips. These products range from PCs and servers to routers, mobile phones, STBs and HDDs.

The ITC is expected to decide whether to initiate an investigation under this complaint within 45 days.

Rambus filed a separate patent infringement suit against Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek and STMicroelectronics in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It alleges chips with certain memory controllers infringe Rambus patents. A separate suit was filed against Nvidia related to the Dally portfolio.

�We have been attempting to license these companies for some time to no avail," said Harold Hughes, CEO, Rambus. "One of the respondents frankly told us that the only way they would get serious is if we sued them," he said in a press statement.

Rambus is no stranger to IP litigation. For a decade, it was party to suits and countersuits regarding its claims to SDRAM memory technology.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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