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Patents Hardware Technology

Rambus Wins Patent Case 146

Blowfishie writes "Rambus has won a major case they've been fighting since the late 90's. Rambus worked its technology into the standards for SDRAM and DDR data transfer, then waited for the major players (Hynix, Micron and Nanya) to be heavily committed before revealing that it had patents on the technology. 'At issue is whether the developer of a speedy new memory technology deserved to be paid for its inventions, or whether the company misled memory chip makers. "I think they (the jurors) misapprehended what the standards-setting organizations are about and the absolute need for good faith," said Jared Bobrow, an outside attorney for Micron. Wednesday's verdict comes after a judgment against Hynix in 2006 that resulted in a $133 million award to Rambus, Lavelle said, and potentially clears the way for Rambus to collect on that verdict.'"
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Rambus Wins Patent Case

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  • by TFer_Atvar ( 857303 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @01:39AM (#22928282) Homepage
    ... oh, you're serious.
    • It's like a reverse April Fools prank, I was sure it was a prank but apparently it wasn't.
      • by burner ( 8666 )
        Maybe the joke is that it's last week's news... I heard this one on the radio and the article is dated 3/26.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          If I were working for one of those companies, the first thing I'd do is declare bankruptcy. If all of the three manufacturers being sued all declared bankruptcy, the industry would plunge into chaos and the legislature would suddenly be getting tens of thousands of phone calls from everybody from Dell to Apple calling for patent reform, a huge government bailout, and a law invalidating Rambus's patents.

          As for me, I will never, as long as I live, purchase any product manufactured by Rambus or any of its s

          • by leenks ( 906881 )
            • It's possible to quit.

              It can be done.

              I haven't bought any new RAM since 2002 (512 megabyte upgrade). It was hard but I feel proud of myself for staying strong & avoiding the temptation. Over two-thousand "junk free" days. Woot! As long as I "just say no" to my pimp, Mr Gates, I should be okay, but if I buy his Vista crak then I'll have no choice. I'll have to buy more RAM. :-(

              Stay strong brother.

              • There are workarounds for people like you.
                If you won't buy directly, then industry will partner with government and raise your taxes to buy the RAM.
                IOW, you can get the RAM up front, or from the rear.
                This is the ugly side-effect of centralized power.
                • Cute. :-)

                  But I'm not sure why the government is going to force me to fork over dollars to buy a product I don't want. I'm happy with the 512M RAM I have now. What kinda politician would possibly do that???

                  Oh wait.

                  I forgot about Hillary. She wants me to pay premiums ($$$) for a product that I do not want (health insurance). Just great. Thanks. I wish the government would bugger off and let me decide *for myself* whether or not I want health insurance (I don't).
          • by qwert12345 ( 1265540 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @03:53AM (#22928724)
            dgatwood, your joke is the *utmost* one I found today:

            "I will never, as long as I live, purchase any product manufactured by Rambus or any of its subsidiaries" You won't because Rambus doesn't produce products that are sold on the market --- they do not produce.

            "as soon as the dust settles and the industry has time to move to a Rambus-patent-free memory technology" The industry has been moving towards a Rambus-patent-heavier status, since SDRAM, DDR, DDR2 and DDR3. I hope given more time they will move even faster.

            "that permanent blacklisting will be expanded to any products that license any technology from Rambus or any of its subsidiaries." You better giving up owning any product that uses DRAM legally and buying those product that infringing, given the outcome of the recent lawsuit --- really a nerd.

            "I strongly urge everyone else on Slashdot to do the same." Doing what? sitting here LMAO about your posts?
          • by nguy ( 1207026 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @05:03AM (#22928946)
            If I were working for one of those companies, the first thing I'd do is declare bankruptcy.

            You can't declare bankruptcy unless you're actually bankrupt.

            As for me, I will never, as long as I live, purchase any product manufactured by Rambus or any of its subsidiaries,

            You won't, since Rambus is just a patent troll company; they don't make products.

            All it would take would be the wrath of geeks burying a single company to ensure that other companies think twice before adopting such sleazy, deplorable tactics.

            Well, if you figure out how to destroy Rambus as a business, lots of people would like to know. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Easy - Reform the patent system so Patent Trolls cannot do business ...

              • Pray tell, you "informative" and "insightful" fellows, what is the term of art definition of "Patent Troll". See, I understand NTP and SCO, etc, but in that case Rambus is far from a troll - over 80% of their 500+ employees are EE's, not lawyers, and they regularly produce products that are freely licensed by Major manufacturers (Sony, IBM, Toshiba, Texas Instruments). It would appear there are "trolls" in this conversation, but not the one you are implicating.
                • Does collaborating on an open standard in bad faith, adding technology to the spec, and only revealing that you hold patents on all your contributions after everyone has started heavily using it count?
            • You won't, since Rambus is just a patent troll company; they don't make products.
              Even though they don't make parts that are available to the consumer, they still make products, like the memory in the PS3: []
          • As for me, I will never, as long as I live, purchase any product manufactured by Rambus or any of its subsidiaries, and as soon as the dust settles and the industry has time to move to a Rambus-patent-free memory technology, that permanent blacklisting will be expanded to any products that license any technology from Rambus or any of its subsidiaries.

            Lets hope this is April fools day joke.

            In any case, pretty easy to avoid Rambus memory products, too expensive and incompatible with the systems I like. Wi

            • In any case, pretty easy to avoid Rambus memory products, too expensive and incompatible with the systems I like.

              Might not be as easy as you think. SDRAM, for example, uses at least one patent held by Rambus. This, however, was known at the time and Rambus agreed to relatively light patent terms during the standard setting process. It still brings in millions though.

              The issue here was Rambus, despite being a member of the standards body didn't disclose their patent as required by the terms to be part of
    • by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @01:43AM (#22928308)
      The article's dated March 26th. No joke.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @03:49AM (#22928706) Homepage
      Oh come on. Who would believe that a company would intentionally work soon-to-be patented technology into widely-accepted standards without telling anyone, then extract patent royalties at gunpoint? That would imply that companies behave in money-grubbing corrupt fashions, the patent system is broken, anti-fraud and anti-monopoly laws have no teeth, and we didn't have an exit strategy from Iraq.

      oh. right. carry on then.
      • "Tom's Hardware" said it in 1999, so it must be true.

        There's no possible way that Rambus could have been screwed over by what the government described as the largest illegal cartel in recent history. After all, their RAM boards were more expensive for the enthusiast!!
      • by gtall ( 79522 )
        Wow, you connected a patent troll to Iraq. Do parts of your brain communicate with each other or do you let them lead their own lives?

        • by cgenman ( 325138 )
          Do parts of your brain communicate with each other or do you let them lead their own lives?

          You mean, like the US intelligence agencies and the white house?

          Look at the date. Look at what is being discussed. You have a 5-digit id: you should know better than to look for serious social commentary in a Slashdot post slathered with sarcasm.

          The ridiculousness of the situations we find ourselves seem endemic and pervasive. I don't mean to sound like a gibberish-spouting anarchist, but I can't help feeling like
    • the affected companies will feel "RAMMED AND BUSTED"... from behind in behind up behind

      ("UP BEHIND" IS a valid US Navy command to deck hands working lines or involved in Underway Replenishment operations.... I know, because it was used as late as 1984-86 when I was in the Deck force) []\

      I just wonder if those companies will be able to "Walk Back Handsomely", hehehe
  • What? I stayed up for an hour waiting for something about PATENTS??? Come on man, if you're going to make me wait that long, it'd better be something like, "Three-Headed Man Forms A Capella Group" or "ETs Land at Verizon HQ to Phone Home." Now I'm pissed off. Thank's for nothing Zonk!
  • The big joke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elmedico27 ( 931070 )
    I think the joke is going to be the entire Slashdot readership going "wait for it... wait for it..." and being skeptical all day long.
  • This is called patent troll..
    • Re:bad.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <<spydermann.slashdot> <at> <>> on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:08AM (#22928426) Homepage Journal

      This is called patent troll..

      Not quite. First of all, this is a hardware patent. Second, Rambus was an actual technology developer []. Turns out that Rambus' competitors did price fixing [] to prevent Rambus memory tech from entering the market.

      Now, I'm not saying the Rambus guys are poor victims [], IMO they're as guilty as the other companies, but I'm thinking that Intel and the others might be getting what they deserve. It's as if Rambus told them: you know the rules, and so do I [] ;-)
      • I believe that I may be developing a form of extra-sensory perception that tells me, without me looking, that links like that are precisely what I expected. I call it the Rixth-sense. Unfortunately I am weirdly compelled to click on it...
      • How exactly was the price fixing hurting Rambus' RDRAM?
        The problem was the major manufactures colluding to increase the price of DRAM and DDR DRAM.

        RDRAM failed because it really didn't meet the needs of the time. Even with the DRAM price increases, RDRAM was too expensive and had too much latency.
        • Re:bad.. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <<spydermann.slashdot> <at> <>> on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:48AM (#22928580) Homepage Journal
          How exactly was the price fixing hurting Rambus' RDRAM?

          From Wikipedia:

          Few DRAM manufacturers have ever obtained the license to produce RDRAM, and those who did license the technology failed to make enough RIMMs to satisfy PC market demand, causing RIMM to be priced higher than SDRAM DIMMs, even when memory prices skyrocketed during 2002.[13] During RDRAM's decline, DDR continued to advance in speed while, at the same time, it was still cheaper than RDRAM. Meanwhile, A massive price war in the DDR SDRAM allowed DDR SDRAM to be sold at or below production cost. DDR SDRAM makers were losing massive amounts of money, while RDRAM suppliers were making a good profit for every module sold. While it is still produced today, few motherboards support RDRAM. Between 2002-2005, market share of RDRAM had never extended beyond 5%.[14]

          In 2004, it was revealed that Infineon, Hynix, Samsung, Micron, and Elpida had entered into a price-fixing scheme .[15] Infineon, Hynix, Samsung and Elpida all entered plea agreements with the US DOJ, pleading guilty to price fixing over 1999-2002.[16] They paid fines totalling over $700 million and numerous executives were sentenced to jail time.

          Rambus has alleged that, as part of the conspiracy, the DRAM manufacturers acted to depress the price of DDR memory in an effort to prevent DRDRAM from succeeding in the market. Those allegations are the subject of lawsuits by Rambus against the various companies.

          So, yes, this is a massive litigation war.

          (April Fools: How about adding a little twist [] to the current RickRolling tendency? :) )
          • scratches head

            Okay, We have price fixing to both increase the price of DDR SDRAM, and price fixing to kill RDRAM? They seem mutually exclusive to me.

            From my memory, I think what killed RDRAM was that it cost substantially more than standard RAM, and benchmarking showed it was no better or worse on most tasks than SDRAM/DDR. Not to mention having uneven heat loads requiring heat spreaders to ensure you don't cook a portion of the memory chip.

            Another point would be that Rambus killed itself by making licens
      • Rambus came out with a technology and then attached tonnes of $ onto that technology - so the industry did what it does best, developed a competing technology with lower licesning fees (see firewire vs USB as a good example of a wonderful tech being maimed by its own creators). In reality, not only did rambus create a tech that turned out not-to-be-so-crash-hot-after-all, they priced themselves out of the market to a large degree (or at least made intel go "oh f**k, AMD's ram is sooo much cheaper to impleme
        • see firewire vs USB as a good example of a wonderful tech being maimed by its own creators

          While I agree that FireWire has more expensive licensing than USB, that's not the only reason USB is more popular. FireWire simply requires more expensive and physically/electrically larger hardware to implement, making it the wrong choice for low-performance devices (like consumer flash drives, your cell phone, etc.) regardless of licensing issues.
    • Not really (Score:5, Informative)

      by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:33AM (#22928532) Journal

      It's called a submarine patent. They call it that because it lurks there and lets you get all confident before it surfaces and torpedos your business.

      Another company did this with .gif, and another with .jpg. In fact I doubt there are many accepted standards that lack these traps. The companies that participate in standards do their best to ensure their patented technologies are included in their standards.

      The standards bodies have a term for this. They require not that the standards contain no patented content, but rather that licensing is available under terms that are "RAND": Reasonable and non discriminatory.

      There can be no better example than the current hot topic, OOXML. MS has offered their "promise" that they won't sue people for using their specification for non commercial use under certain (unlikely) conditions. They won't even call it a license.

      It's all a lie, of course. A corporation does not buy something so expensive as a submarine unless they have a plan to use it.

      That's not the same thing as patent troll. A patent troll has no other business than patenting the obvious and suing people who follow the simplest path. While these patents are one clear answer to certain technical problems they are not the only obvious answer. Also, Rambus does have a legitimate business (or did).

      Therefore it's not a patent troll, it's a submarine patent. I'll agree that it's despicable though.

      • It's called a submarine patent. They call it that because it lurks there and lets you get all confident before it surfaces and torpedos your business.

        Submarine patents were possible in the US due to, frankly, stupid rules where, IIRC, the patentor could continually tweak the patent to stop it being granted until they felt the time was right. It then had a life of (again, IIRC) 17 years from the date of grant.

        Thankfully, the US caught up with the rest of the world a few years ago and changed their rules to m

      • I agree it's a submarine. A patent troll fishes for easy settlements. I don't think developing a technology and inserting it into a standard is easy. Dirty pool, but not easy.
      • It's called a submarine patent. They call it that because it lurks there and lets you get all confident before it surfaces and torpedos your business.

        Actually, a submarine patent is one during the first 18 months of the approval process. During that time, the records are not publicized (for valid reasons including the ability to make a second attempt if you FUBAR your patent and national defense: not showing China how to make the nurse-shark mountable laser). Hence, during that time, you can actually man

  • Fool me once... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deranged unix nut ( 20524 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @01:50AM (#22928354) Homepage
    Afterwhich Rambus was never trusted in a standards committee again...
    • Re:Fool me once... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gutboy ( 587531 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @01:59AM (#22928392)
      It surprises me that after what Rambus has done, that standards orgs don't require that all patents, copyrights, whatever be donate to the public domain if it turns out that any member (or members org) has a patent, copyright, etc. on anything in the standard. If you don't want to lose your patent, you don't get to participate in making a standard.
      • by Daengbo ( 523424 )
        The orgs only require that patents be made available for fair and reasonable rates, and the FTC ruled that the rates Rambus wanted to charge were F&R in 2006.
      • Well, like ISO and OOXML (M$XML)?

        To bad the ISO folks aren't reading this Slashdot artical.

        M$XML is designed to do exactly this.
      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        An excellent concept. Surely someone reading here must have connections to get that ball rolling??

    • Re:Fool me once... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:28AM (#22928522)
      That could be the worst effect of this... undermining the standards bodies. Getting competitors to play nice is hard enough even when they aren't stabbing each other in the back. Now they're more likely to figure it's safer just to go their own proprietary ways, which would mean more expensive and incompatible gear for us.
    • Afterwhich Rambus was never trusted in a standards committee again...

      Furthermore the OEM industry as a whole moved away from Rambus technology towards less patent-encumbered alternatives once the extent of the clusterfuck came to light.

      And that is why I don't care whether or not OOXML gets adopted as an ISO standard, and skip the daily Slashdot stories about it, because it WILL get found out sooner or later that Microsoft's offering is useless garbage.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @01:53AM (#22928366)
    For all its faults, Rambus is/was staffed with very smart people who were actively working on memory designs in an effort to create licensable blueprints. They weren't just sitting around grabbing at every obvious idea, but were actually trying to provide a service to hardware vendors.

    They totally fucked themselves by becoming a pariah in the standards push, but their technology is real and substantial. Their big problem (aside from the obvious bad choice to torpedo the standards committee) was that they didn't actually produce their own RAM for a long time. This gave the impression that they were just another patent bottom feeder when in actuality they were bringing good technology to the table.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @08:44AM (#22929804)
      Rambus wrote an early (and decent) patent on one of their designs, and that patent languished for years in the patent office, eventually being abandoned. Several years later, they wrote a continuation of that patent that was eventually granted, which covered their design.

      Now the issue begins.

      During the time that those two patents were hidden away in the patent office, Rambus attended the JEDEC committee meetings for standardizing SDRAM and DDR. They essentially sat there, silent, making the actively participating representatives nervous. Eventually there was a "put up or talk up" request issued to the Rambus people, and they walked out of the committee meetings.

      Also during that time, they began writing continuations of the second in-office application, which was a continuation of the first application. With these continuations the examined the descriptive section of the first application (which isn't allowed to change on a continuation) and began extracting new claims which were precisely written against the emerging SDRAM and DDR standards.

      Even though those features may have only been mentioned in passing, not taught in the original art.
      Even though to one skilled in the art they were rather obvious.

      The applications were granted, and that's the basis of the current mess.
      • by thogard ( 43403 )
        If the patent hadn't been published and other people "invented" the same stuff, isn't clear that the invention is "obvious to someone practised in the arts"? or at least someone in the same field?
        • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @10:36AM (#22930576) Homepage
          Umm, no. Not at all. Two people inventing the same thing just means that two very smart people had similar ideas. It doesn't make them obvious (Calculus being the most glaring example... both Newton and Leibniz built their work on existing efforts, but independently made leaps that none had before).
          • by thogard ( 43403 )
            I think your argument comes down to "how many people are in the pool of experts". When Newton an Leibniz were doing their work, what % of scholars at the time had the drive and free time or need to research the direction they were headed? If the pool of "experts in the field" consisted of two people and they both came up with about the same thing, I would say that is obvious to someone in that field, no matter how small that field is.
    • Rambus was once an innovator in the field that shipped products. However, the most reprehensible thing they did was to draw their patents to cover SDRAM products during the prosecution process while taking part in the standards-setting committee. In other words, their original filings did not cover the product, so they slowly adjusted their patent claims to grab that subject matter. Prosecution remains a secret for quite a while, so Rambus basically bamboozled the JDEC into having to pay royalties.
  • Considering that Rambus is still around and they obviously haven't been selling RDRAM, are they still relevant in the consumer market place for memory?

    The only products listed on their website are:
    # XDR []
    # DDR
    # RDRAM
    # Custom Solutions

    From their press releases, XDR seems like the only thing they're really selling.
    • I hear there's a new rambus memory tech in development for servers. It would be incredible except that rambus is a spinout of Intel. Read up on the Rambus history if you want to understand this.

      Several companies do this. Executives from a group spin out in an entrepeneurial venture. Then they build their businesses on technologies they worked on in their parent companies.

      Eventually the spinout gets bought back in for huge profits for the executives involved.

      For HP this has evolved into an unofficial

    • Considering that Rambus is still around and they obviously haven't been selling RDRAM, are they still relevant in the consumer market place for memory?
      Every Playstation contains 256GB of RAMBUS memory. Seems pretty relevant to consumers to me...
  • Micron and other corporations are already appealing this decision...
  • omgNOTponies!

    As in, surely it's an April Fool's joke! Except it's not!
  • I am waiting, waiting, waiting for something interesting. Like the Linux Journal [] now changing into BeOS journal. Or the Google's plan [] to send us all to Mars. I am waiting.
  • on April 1 at /. Two hours now and no PinkDot. No jokes. Is this the April Fools' gag itself? That there is no spoon?
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:17AM (#22928470) Homepage

    Hynix, Micron, and Nanya should sue the standards committee over this. Maybe that would force all standards committees to proactively get every participant to sign over all patent rights to participate in the standards process. Those companies that want to not do that would have to sit out.

    • by jtshaw ( 398319 )
      Signing over the patent rights is not really the issue. I'm totally ok with RAMBUS having a technology patented and collecting license fees on it. What I'm not ok with is them deceiving folks into standardizing on there technology. Perhaps if it was known by the others at the time of the meetings that RAMBUS was patenting the tech they would have still chosen it, perhaps not, but at least give them the choice knowing all the facts.

      Honestly, I'd like to see those patents surrendered to JEDEC or the IEEE a
  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:18AM (#22928476) Homepage
    seems to be very popular lately. Does someone have a patent on in yet?
  • Look at the articles date its for real. Also []

    Sad but true.
    • The real gag seems to be that everyone is tricked into being wary of April fool's stories, while none are really posted.
  • > "I think they (the jurors) misapprehended what the standards-setting organizations are about and the absolute need for good faith,"

    This is a poor portent for standards bodies generally. Microsoft (like Rambus) perfectly understood what these bodies are about and have sought to subvert ISO for their benefit. Unlike Rambus, they aren't seeking to collect extortion payments, merely to cement their monopoly. Both distasteful though.
  • juries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @02:33AM (#22928534)
    Well, you put the jury in the courtroom, you live with the vote of the jury. Me, I'm not sure what to think of verdicts which don't include a written explanation of the evidence and the reasoning. I know this sounds like heresey to common-law natives, but in my line of work, if you can't produce a coherent written (or at least, oral) account of your reasoning, then it can be presumed that your opinions aren't reasoned.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by firefly4f4 ( 1233902 )
      IANAL, but shouldn't this have been pretty easy to show for a jury, with just two questions, how they're either involved in deception or not?

      1) Was Rambus involved in the standards process?

      If not, then while there's an issue of if the patents should have been granted in the first place (and I don't agree with this, but think it's the case), I think they'd be in the clear as far as this particular jury would be concerned.... with the exception being if the patents were submitted AFTER the standard was publis
  • Because we all know who will end up paying for this, don't we? Hint: It won't be the tier one manufacturers.
  • Damn, this article is like a reverse April Fool's joke. I could've sworn it was one, targeted towards the early adopter Slashdot readers for whom this saga is a classic. But no, it's real. :(
    • The April Fools' joke started yesterday if I'm not mistaken. Linky in case you missed it [] (last paragraph of the summary). It's really rather clever in a nerdy, social engineeringesque sort of way.
  • Wow. I remember the day in 1999 that this would have received a firestorm of comments.

    Go Los Altos Eagles!
  • whats that you say? a large company many years ago sought to corrupt the standards body and use the system for its own nefarious profit schemes? Thats outrageous.

    Thanks heavens you could not get away with it these days!

    Is anybody realized surprised that a panel of jurors could not understand the purpose and nature of a standards body? - if you treated it as a straight patent dispute Rambus were always going to win all the way. In fact I find it hard to see exactly what laws they were alleged to of bro
  • So people will cheat if given the option. Big surprise. I have some good prime real state to sell those companies. There is a thing called due diligence. It was so difficult to ask for a waiver of all possible patents, when developing the standard? Or have a look to the patent portfolio of the intervening companies? Probably next time they will do that. There is no excuse for shoddy practices like these, and they are rightly punished.

    • Pretend it's a negro with a gun taking your money instead of rich white men with briefcases. OH MY GOD! Move out of the neighborhood!

      Try: using the patents they mendaciously pursued while helpfully making them a standard. Refuse to pay royalties. Refuse after they file suit. Refuse to pay damages after a court awards them your money. Refuse to go to jail. Refuse the armed and armored cops entry to your house. Resist arrest. Be shot. Die. You see, rich white men CAN kill you as dead as the scary poor negroes
  • if this has a real impact, i predict a new memory technology in the near future.
  • Yup, aptly named company. They're Ramming it to us.
  • Rambus is scum.
  • by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @12:22PM (#22931398) Homepage
    When you see the memos and emails circulated amongst the big RAM players on the JDEC saying stuff like "in the future all memory will be made this way, but we won't pay royalties to RAMBUS" (or along similar lines) you realize RAMBUS isn't the evil patent troll they get made out to be.

    The fact is that modern DDR/DDR2 DRAM uses much of RAMBUS' original design elements. Hynix, Micron, Samsung... they all colluded together in an illegal fashion to keep RAMBUS scarce (and thus more expensive) and to steal the technology to implement the next DRAM standard. They were all convicted on criminal charges related to this and DRAM price fixing and most of the companies not only pled guilty, but paid huge fines for it. I think most of the ill-will for RAMBUS comes from the Intel agreement, which was rightfully maligned as a bad thing but has nothing to do with the patent infringement case.

    Let's say you are a small inventor who has come up with a new RAM technology. Now let's say you join the standards committee and offer up your new technology for the next standard under RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory licensing) terms. Instead of accepting your tech for the standard, the big players all rip it off and tell you to go get a lawyer if you don't like it. What would you do? Sit back and take it? You don't have the resources to open up a fab and make it yourself. You did all the research and hard work, you own the patents, but the big boys don't care - they're using your tech anyway. Not a good situation to be in and I don't blame RAMBUS one bit for doing what they can to get some justice.
    • The price fixing is a separate issue that I do think the DRAM companies engaged in. The patent issue, however, happened differently than you are saying.

      JEDEC has strict rules that everyone involved must disclose any patents that may be relevent to the standards they are working toward so that those issues can be dealt with before a standard is decided on. Rambus had some memory patents that had been filed but not issued. Rambus disclosed none of those. Then, as they attended and gathered information abo
  • I made the mistake years ago of buying a desktop with 1600 RDRAM in it. It doesn't have enough RAM in it and RDRAM is still ridiculously priced (256 meg of 1600 RDRAM is still almost $200!). Screw Rambus.
    • by kesuki ( 321456 )
      you missed your chance. I was able to get 256MB or RDRAM for about $50 for a person with RDRAM online in 2005 i think it was. I can't remember how much ram they originally had, but it wasn't an expensive upgrade, and it really made a difference.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner