Bloomberg News

Rambus Loses Ruling Against LSI and STMicro in Trade Case

March 02, 2012

Rambus Inc. (RMBS), a designer of high- speed memory chips, lost a ruling from a U.S. trade judge in its efforts to boost patent-licensing fees from inventions.

LSI Corp., (LSI) MediaTek Inc., (2454) and STMicroelectronics NV (STM) didn’t violate patent rights owned by Rambus, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Theodore Essex said in a one-page notice posted on the agency’s website. The judge’s findings are subject to review by the six-member commission, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents.

Rambus has sought to boost royalties from its designs by extending the reach of patent enforcement beyond personal computers, where the Sunnyvale, California-based company has fought a decade’s worth of legal battles, to communications devices and electronics.

The judge gave no reason for his determination. The findings will be released to the public after both sides get a chance to redact confidential information.

“We have yet to receive the decision, but are disappointed with the initial determination of no violation,” Thomas Lavelle, Rambus’s general counsel, said in a statement. “We believe in the strength of our portfolio and remain committed to protecting our patented inventions from unlicensed use.”

Essex earlier sided with Rambus on three of the patents in a different case, against Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), Rambus said. That case was on appeal until Rambus and Nvidia reached a settlement.

Infringement Denial

The dispute in this case centers on a type of dynamic random access memory called SDRAM that acts as the main memory in computers. Rambus contends its inventions speed the transfer of data.

The memory controllers are used in networking gear, televisions, set-top decoders and other devices. The complaint also names customers of the three chipmakers, including Asustek Computer Inc. (2357), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) and Hewlett- Packard Co.

LSI, based in Milpitas, California; Hsinchu, Taiwan-based MediaTek and Geneva-based STMicro denied infringing the patents and challenged their validity.

Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) and Nvidia also were part of the original case before they reached settlements of all pending litigation. Rambus asked the ITC to dismiss Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which uses Broadcom and Nvidia, because of the settlements.

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

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net


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