Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
HP Patents Hardware

Commission Affirms NVIDIA Violated Rambus Patents 35

Posted by timothy
from the infringe-group dept.
MojoKid writes "The International Trade Commission has announced its findings in the NVIDIA/Rambus patent infringement lawsuit, and it's not the sort of ruling Team Green would've preferred. The commission found NVIDIA to be in violation of three Rambus patents. The trade panel also granted an injunction Rambus had requested, which theoretically prevents NVIDIA and the various companies attached to the lawsuit (Asus, HP, Palit, and MSI among others) from selling products that contain the infringing IP. The commission's decision this week affirms a January ruling that saw NVIDIA in violation of three Rambus patents while dismissing two additional claims of infringement Rambus made."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Commission Affirms NVIDIA Violated Rambus Patents

Comments Filter:
  • Boned. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RMingin (985478) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @06:11PM (#33062646) Homepage

    And RMBS takes down yet another member of JEDEC's bag of targets!

    1. Submit tech to standards body.
    2. Get tech widely used.
    3. Patent tech.
    4. SUE!
    5. PROFIT!

    • Re:Boned. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dpilot (134227) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @06:17PM (#33062734) Homepage Journal

      You've got your order a little wrong.

      1. Apply for patent.
      2. Join standards body, get tech widely used.
      3. Leave standards body.
      4. Continue patent of Step 1, ammending claims to read directly against standard.
      5. SUE!
      6. PROFIT!

      • by rsborg (111459)
        You're missing a step: 1. Apply for patent. 1.5 Fail to disclose patent applications in violation of standards body bylaws. 2. Join standards body, get tech widely used. 3. Leave standards body. 4. Continue patent of Step 1, ammending claims to read directly against standard. 5. SUE! 6. PROFIT! The real crime here is that violation of existing pertinent agreements apparently have no weight in the USPTO... clearly patents are divorced from reality a long ways.
        • by dpilot (134227)

          Yeah, there's that little detail. There's also the fact that the original patent application was allowed to languish for several years and later abandoned. But it languished long enough for them to come in after JEDEC and ammend the claims. Nor did the original patent claims read on the JEDEC standard.

          I had to simplify a little.

  • Hate to say it but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peach Rings (1782482) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @06:11PM (#33062650) Homepage

    If you're going to spend $10 billion on a process, you'd better make sure that the product it makes isn't infringing any patents. This isn't a helpless small developer; nvidia is the biggest of the big.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It takes a lot more than 10 billion to read through all the patents at the patent office.

    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @06:29PM (#33062918)

      In practice it's impossible to do anything non-trivial without infringing a number of patents.

      There is no test you can do to give a certain answer, the best you can do is licence the patents you're sure you'd be infringing.
      In the cases of patents owned by other big companies a big company which owns a lot of patents can just make a deal that they not sue each other.

      In the case of patent trolls, companies with no real assets other than their patent portfolio and no income stream other than licensing and the loot from lawsuits this is of course impossible since they produce nothing they cannot be threatened with having the other companies patents used against them.

      I really have to ask something of any engineers reading this who work in R&D- how many of you spend your dev time reading patents to find useful tech you could use in what you're developing?

      Alternatively how many of you avoid doing so at all cost for fear getting 3 times the penalties if someone sues you for something you didn't think your tech infringed but is later found to infringe?

      Currently there's well over 6 million active patents worldwide.
      Even cutting out all the ones in fields so far from your own they probably have nothing to do with what you're building (unsafe) that still leaves you with more patents to examine to see if you're infringing than even dozens of lawyers could compare to every part of what you're building in a year.(if you could delay time to market that long)
      Even then you wouldn't be safe since one of the lawyers might have misunderstood something or missed something.
      (lets not even get into changes late in the projects design)

      You'd be left with a decent pile of "certainly infringes" and such a vast pile of "maybe infringes" that you'd be bankrupted by the licensing fees and delayed for years trying to contact every one.
      And even then you wouldn't be safe since a court might simply disagree with even a very very good lawyer.

      So big companies make an effort, pay off the ones which they are certain infringe and which are certain to be spotted and hope.

      • by cjcela (1539859) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @08:18PM (#33064066)
        Patents protect big companies, not the people who discover new things. And I believe that companies whose only assets are IP purchased from other parties are a degeneration. The way it is right now, only large companies can innovate; small companies often do not even have the resources to check what they are infringing, if any. So the cost of innovation becomes incredibly expensive for the small guy, and any legal disagreement gets resolved in favor of the ones with deepest pockets. The system as it is is flawed, and deeply skewed towards the party who has more money.
        • So the cost of innovation becomes incredibly expensive for the small guy, and any legal disagreement gets resolved in favor of the ones with deepest pockets. The system as it is is flawed, and deeply skewed towards the party who has more money.

          What, you believed just because the told you patents were to promote progress in the sciences, that that is their real reason?

          I've got new for you: the patent system is working precisely as designed.

          Namely:
          1. Innovation is successfully limited to (mostly) large enter

      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @08:31PM (#33064160) Homepage

        I really have to ask something of any engineers reading this who work in R&D- how many of you spend your dev time reading patents to find useful tech you could use in what you're developing?

        Alternatively how many of you avoid doing so at all cost for fear getting 3 times the penalties if someone sues you for something you didn't think your tech infringed but is later found to infringe?

        Engineer working in R&D here; you nailed it with Option B there (and really the whole post).

        I was explicitly instructed by our legal department to never conduct patent searches. The mere act of doing so, even if I never read the relevant patent, could suggest knowing violation and thus treble damages.

        Instead, the lawyer said that when our product unintentionally but inevitably infringes on another company's patent, we sit down across from them with our big pile of patents which is hopefully bigger than theirs and come to an agreement. The main reason we try to acquire such a big pile of patents is exactly for these defensive purposes.

        One thing I'm not sure about is what happens during our patenting process. We write up descriptions of ideas we came up with in the course of designing the product that we think are patentable, and send them off to legal, and they'll send them back to us for editing and such. What they do on their end is what I'm not sure of. I would think they don't do searches for prior art for the same reason we don't, but patents applications are supposed to list relevant prior art and I can't imagine the Patent Office doesn't get suspicious when every single application lists zero prior art. Well, okay, I can imagine that.

        • I imagine the legal department does do a certain amount of reviewing of current patents but have it set up so that they can prove that only lawyers -nobody who has any part in designing anything- ever looks at a patent.

      • Alternatively how many of you avoid doing so at all cost for fear getting 3 times the penalties if someone sues you for something you didn't think your tech infringed but is later found to infringe?

        Software patents aren't valid here, so the infringement issue doesn't matter, but I never search for them because they are incredibly difficult to read. If I want to see if anyone has a solution to my problem, I look in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, or do a web search. I've never come across a situation where reading a patent would have made my life easier, which seems to defeat the point of patents existing.

    • If they were smart they would all settle out of court, avoid the lawyer fees, and also make the 10billion dollar project just a 10.5 billion dollar project....would be cheaper and everyone could get on with their lives.

  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medv4380 (1604309) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @06:30PM (#33062938)
    How can the US Patent office find that the Rambus patents are groundless http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1588351/nvidia-us-import-ban [theinquirer.net], and yet the ITC finds that some how NVIDIA violated 3 patents. This is the circus that never ends.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Does the ITC have any legal weight in the US?

      • by FunPika (1551249)
        Considering that the ITC is a US federal agency with its members nominated by the President/confirmed by the Senate and not some international organization like the name implies to anyone who has never heard of it...yep.
  • Its broken (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday July 28, 2010 @07:18PM (#33063512) Homepage Journal
    We need to face facts; the patent system, like almost all other legal systems here, is ridiculously broken. The patent system was supposed to grow creativity but instead has become a tool for quick profits. Its ridiculous and needs to go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AHuxley (892839)
      If your looking up its evil.
      Looking down its a revenue stream, barrier to entry and protects cartels.
      Thats win win win with the full protection of powerful governments.
      Prices are stable, projections hold and noting disruptive escapes the lab, garage ect without the option to buy out, license or delay.
    • Well, there is a downside too, but I would say it _did_ provide an advantage compared to ye olde days when (A) there wasn't much incentive to put too much money into new research, and (B) if you did, it was only if you could keep it secret.

      Probably the best case that could be made is the Greek Fire, which gave the Byzantine armies and navies a major advantage. But they kept it so secret that a few centuries later they themselves didn't know how to make it any more. Probably a family business and once it wen

  • I don't know which nVidia parts are affected, but it's possible that RAMBUS might have shot itself in the foot if they covered all GPUs.

    After all, RAMBUS' biggest wins are in the console market, and the PS3 has the distinction of having both RAMBUS memory in it (256MB system RAM - XDR-RAM), and nVidia GPU ("RSX"). Xbox360 and Wii use ATi parts, and don't use RAMBUS memory.

    So if the PS3 also ends up blocked because of the ITC, it would affect licensing revenues for RAMBUS themselves, no? Heck, it may cause S

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

Working...