Bloomberg News

Rambus Patents Should Be Invalid, U.S. Trade Agency Staff Says

November 09, 2011

Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Rambus Inc. patents asserted against companies including Broadcom Corp. and Nvidia Corp. should be found invalid by the U.S. International Trade Commission, according to an agency staff recommendation.

The recommendation applies to a Dec. 1 complaint by Rambus, a Sunnyvale, California-based designer of high-speed memory chips that wants the companies to pay royalties on five patents for technology in communications devices and electronics. The agency has the power to block imports of products made outside the U.S. that are found to infringe U.S. patent rights.

Daniel Girdwood, an investigative attorney with the ITC, listed a total of 66 recommendations yesterday in a filing posted on the agency’s website. The filing doesn’t explain the reasons for the recommendation.

The staff acts as a third party in some ITC cases, and the agency’s judges aren’t required to follow the recommendations. A trial on the case was heard last month, and ITC Judge Theodore Essex is scheduled to release his findings Jan. 4.

While recommending that the patents be declared invalid, the ITC staff said it found that that the patents at issue had been infringed and shouldn’t be deemed unenforceable because of document destruction by Rambus. The staff also said that if a violation of Rambus rights is found, certain products that infringe the patents should be banned from the U.S.

Other companies named in the Rambus complaint include Asustek Computer Inc., Garmin Ltd., LSI Corp. and Seagate Technology Plc.

The case is In the Matter of Certain Semiconductor Chips and Products Containing Same, 337-753, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

--Editors: Michael Shepard, Steve Walsh

To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net


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