Rambus won a crucial decision in its effort to collect patent royalties from Nvidia over computer graphics chips.
A U.S. International Trade Commission judge in Washington said yesterday
that Nvidia is violating three patents owned by Rambus. Two other patents are invalid, the Judge said. His decision, which is subject to review by the full commission, may result in a ban on imports of Nvidia chips and products that use them.
"Following an extensive hearing process, we are pleased with the ALJ's determination that three of our patents are valid and infringed," said Tom Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus. "We are obviously disappointed with the result for the other asserted patents and intend to request the Commission's review of the corresponding portions of the Initial Determination. We will continue to vigorously protect our patented inventions for the benefit of our shareholders and in fairness to our paying licensees."
"We are pleased with the initial determination from the ITC finding two patents invalid but disappointed about its ruling on the other three patents," said David Shannon, NVIDIA executive vice president and general counsel. "All five of the patents continue to be subject to reexamination proceedings in the Patent and Trademark Office, in which the Office has consistently found the asserted claims of all of these patents to be invalid. We will now take the patents before the full commission for a full review of the initial determination announced today."
On November 6, 2008, Rambus filed a complaint with the ITC requesting an investigation pertaining to NVIDIA products. The complaint sought an exclusion order barring the importation, sale for importation, or sale after importation of products that infringe nine of Rambus' patents. The accused products are products that incorporate certain NVIDIA memory controllers, including graphics processors and media and communications processors. The complaint named NVIDIA as a proposed Respondent, as well as companies whose products incorporate the accused NVIDIA products and are imported into the United States. These respondents include: Asustek Computer Inc. and Asus Computer International, BFG Technologies, Biostar Microtech and Biostar Microtech International Corp., Diablotek Inc., EVGA Corp., G.B.T. Inc. and Giga-Byte Technology Co., Hewlett-Packard, MSI Computer Corp. and Micro-Star International Co., Palit Multimedia Inc. and Palit Microsystems Ltd., Pine Technology Holdings, Ltd., and Sparkle Computer Co.
Four of the asserted patents were withdrawn from the investigation.