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Rambus Allowed to Continue Patent Dispute Case 70

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the just-the-beginning dept.
ZuperDee writes "According to an article at Forbes, Rambus has just won a major victory against Hynix semiconductor. They have also signed a $75 million licensing deal with AMD." The victory? Well, come March they get to go to trial against Hynix.
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Rambus Allowed to Continue Patent Dispute Case

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  • Mixed Feelings (Score:4, Insightful)

    by queenb**ch (446380) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @08:11PM (#14405511) Homepage Journal
    I have been the beneficiary of several of their infringed upon patents, enjoying the benefits of cheap memory in almost every device I own. Still, I think that the technology would have gotten much futher had Rambus licensed the patents.

    2 cents,

    Queen B
    • I have been the beneficiary of several of their infringed upon patents, enjoying the benefits of cheap memory in almost every device I own.

      As have I and undoubtably so have pretty much every hardware maker who caters to the budget minded.

      Still, I think that the technology would have gotten much futher had Rambus licensed the patents.

      Depends. If they were greedy, which I thought was the case as they wanted to push RDRAM, they could have driven completely different architecture to be accepted (which, d

    • Memory speed hasnt been holding technology back. Memory speed isnt a bottleneck at all. Lack of memory can be, and at the price of Rambus memory they were doing their best to keep technology out of the hands of the average buyer. Other things like, CPU heat, an aging HD technology and inherent limitations to optical media is what hamper computers the most.
      • [DRAM + sync --> SDRAM; If you had original 1992 dram in your Pentium or Athlon, you'd think DRAM speed IS a limitation.] Memory speed has been much increased since the Pentium II by the incorporation of RMBS's patented concepts into generic DRAM. Unfortunately, the major Memory Makers appropriated RMBS's IP without paying royalties. THAT is/was the problem. RAMMAX
    • One side's opinion is that they joined a memory chip ocnsortium [wikipedia.org] for setting memory standards in which all the members were supposed to disclose their patents on elements that would go into proposed standards, but Rambus didn't disclose their patents.

      The Rambus [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia topic is currently in a revert war over this very issue!
  • Who thinks of the Laker's power forward Kurt Rambis [kurtrambis.com] of their 80's team whenever a Rambus article appears? Granted they're spelled differently, but my brain doesn't seem to care...
    • Who thinks of the Laker's power forward Kurt Rambis of their 80's team whenever a Rambus article appears? Granted they're spelled differently, but my brain doesn't seem to care...

      Dunno, but I'm such and old git I think of [Too Much, The Magic Bus], which sounded like (zoomba the magic bus.)

    • Actually, when I first read it, I wondered who was questioning the rhombus' rights to be involved in patent law.
  • Another yawner (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phavens (573333)
    Rambus lost big a long time ago. I always assumed if they sued enough companies they may win one. :\
  • "Hynix"... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Caspian (99221) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @08:44PM (#14405715)
    ...I don't know if that sounds more like the name of a posix-compliant operating system [wikipedia.org], a sandwich cookie [wikipedia.org], or a part of a lady's nether-regions [wikipedia.org]...
  • AMD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PetriBORG (518266)
    While I guess I can get behind Rambus's right to sue, I'm not convinced that the whole submarine patent thing can be excused. Of course this forbes article is really light on the history of the cases other then to mention, "Rambus designs and licenses methods for moving data into, out of and between semiconductors."

    I'm more interested/worried in the whole AMD part, I do not want to see AMD mobo's running with Rambus's insanely expensive memory on it.

    • I'm not convinced that the whole submarine patent thing can be excused.

      It'd be possible to get rid of them if you forced people to exert their right to the patent the second they found out someone was infringing it (much like trademarks). Or you could always just get rid of patents completely. That'd work too.

      I also think that when someone tries to exert their patent by suing, they should be forced to prove they're making a real effort to create a commercially viable product. That way companies will stop p
      • pattens are a sore subject around here. I can see the reasons though.

        Having a working prototype of somethign being pattened should be a requirment to getting a patten. I don't know about being comercialy viable though. Licencing should reflect the ability of the patten holders claim of comercial viability though. It should be ilegal to set on a standards board, Push somethign as a standard then asert a patton claim on it wether it was previously pattened or not.

    • by kesuki (321456)
      no, you mis understand, AMD has licenced the technology that allows them to use DDR memory... which infringes on several of rambus's patents that they issued while sitting on the JDEC proposing the standard for DDR memory.

      RDRAM is horribly slow, and can't compete with DDR2 and DDR3 memory technologies not to mention dual channel DDR memory is much of an improvment over RDRAM

      Rambus is now just an extortion racket, because they did submarine patents on the 'competing' technology to ensure they made money eith
      • I respectfuly disagree. AMD licensed Rambus controller IP, not DDR et al. memory IP. From the press release "The license includes Rambus patents used in the design of DDR2, DDR3, FB-DIMM, PCI Express* and XDR(TM) controllers as well as other current and future high-speed memory and logic controller interfaces." DDR will NOT triple! How do you make that calculation? Do you know what the royalty rate was that Rambus asked for before all the litigation commenced? 5%. That is a far cry from 300%.
        • I'm not the orignial poster but i think we can asume that rambus would be entitled to back payments of royalties. These expenses would be passed to consumers and i would wager they would come quick. Tripling prices isn't too unbelievable to me.

          The sad thing is that ram makers can use this as an excuse to increase the cost however they want. They can say that due to the settlement, this product cost X amount more and keep the prices there as long as they want. It is almost a license to colude with thier comp
          • I agree that a price increase is possible, what a great excuse to slip in more profit! But not 300%. I believe that is totally improbable. Where has that ever happened? If a settlement is reached, it seems likely payment could be made over years - witness the settlement Rambus made with IFX. If Rambus does not settle and the damages are determined in court, the sky is the limit. What is a reasonable royalty rate? 3.5%? 5.0% 1% per patent? In the FTC matter, Judge McGuire opined that if 3.5% was reasonable p
            • by kesuki (321456)
              Where has that ever happened?

              I beleive the last time that the price of ram doubled (not trippled, okay so in the past it hasn't tripled, but it has doubled) was when taiwan was hit by a major earthquake, that destroyed an incredible amount of semiconducter manufacturing equipment.

              normally the price fluctuates based on the commodity price of the materials used to make ram, and yeah i was considering oh, 6 years of back royalties plus legal fees, plus court awarded damages all coming due at once. maybe the p
              • I guessing Hynix will settle and if they do, why not a payment plan? The doubling of RAM cost after the earthquate was due to capacity. That is the supply side of the equation? IFX has already settled with Rambus. Did anybody notice a price increase? As follows is a little slice from an order from Judge Whyte today: "the cases involving the various parties cry out for a business resolution and the sooner matters which have been heard are decided the sooner the parties will be informed where they stand so
    • *** Why do you write that Rambus's memory is insanely expensive? What memory would that be? Do you realize that Rambus memory includes SDRAM & DDRI and DDR2? Yes, is does. Rambus has summary judgments against Hynix for infringing on its IP found in those "Rambus" memory types. Do you mean RDRAM? Are you aware that Memory manufacturers have pled guilty to price fixing memory, including RDRAM? Rambus litigation is complex and like WWII is being fought on several fronts simultaneously. I respectfully
    • I do not want to see AMD mobo's running with Rambus's insanely expensive memory on it.

      However, the inexpensive RAM is inexpensive because its design is stolen from Rambus (and priced below cost with the inention of damaging Rambus' position). When Rambus has their day in court, the guys that make your cheap RAM are going to have to pay. Hynix vs Rambus is the first in many manufacturer settlement trials. That case begins March 6. Seeing that Samsung is already guilty of price fixing and that the RAM manufac
  • by taskforce (866056) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @08:50PM (#14405747) Homepage
    Does anyone have any more info on the 75MUSD deal with AMD? This is blind, uninformed speculation, but isn't RAMBUS's latest thing XDR memory? The stuff that runs at 3.2Ghz with a muliplier equal to the CPU's in the PS3?

    If AMD were to net this stuff for Athlon64s it would explain why they've been holding out on DDR2 for so long and would also prompt me to run out and buy Quad Opertons with XDR very quickly; memory bandwidth seems to be the greatest hurdle on the otherwise extremely broadly equipped Athlon64 line; I can see how it would make a lot of sense to pair it up with HyperTransport.

  • by adam31 (817930) <`adam31' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday January 05, 2006 @08:51PM (#14405750)
    75$ mil deal and AMD gets access to "the good stuff". There's a reason XDR is going into the Cell processor, and it's because 25.6 GByte/s is the right bandwidth to feed 9 cores @ 3.2 Ghz. But it's way, way more than you need for a dinky 1- or 2-core processor (for those you're better off spending money on the super low-latency SRAM instead).

    So does this mean that AMD is jumping on the many-multicore design bandwagon? They must have something up their sleeve...

  • by Stuupid (942726) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @08:55PM (#14405775)
    and let me tell you, it is the best value in ram anywhere!

    i mean, $200+ for 512MB? can you beat that?!
    • I too have RDRAM. While it is expensive, I have found my measly 128MB PC800 RDRAM still can keep up with SD and DDR (II) RAM. Its a beautiful thing to benchmark 128 RDRAM and 256 DDR II RAM and have similar scores.
      • 128MB PC800 RDRAM still can keep up with SD and DDR (II) RAM

        I have 256 MB of PC800 RDRAM. I'm planning to switch to dual channel DDR 400, from what I've read RDRAM is much slower than DDR (dual channel), let alone DDR2. Can you show some benchmarks supporting your position?
  • by Devil (16134)
    Are they still around? I haven't heard that name in two or three years.
  • Rambus has just won a major victory

    and to think of they had NOT had the major victory then their future in the industry just might be possibly been compromised! Just think, a world without Rambus.... *shudder* I don't want to think about how it would be without them.
  • Anybody who has flagged me as a "foe" has probably done so because I am consistently critical of Slashdot's reporting and the Slashdot community's self-proclaimed expertise about the patent system where clearly no such expertise exists. And this story - perhaps the FIRST newsworthy patent article I've seen in at least a year - and it virtually nobody posts. When Slashdot posts wildly inaccurate, simply false stories, everybody and their grandmother comes out to criticise a system they clearly know nothing

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