The most important points of this finding won't be fully appreciated by most people immediately.
THIS RULING MEANS THAT RAMBUS HAS PATENTS COVERING PC MEMORY THROUGH 2015.
For years, many have operated on the assumption that Rambus' patents on memory expired in April 2010. Not any more. This ruling validated three patents from the newer "Barth" patent family. The patents in this family cover DDR3 and GDDR memory, AND THEY DO NOT EXPIRE UNTIL 2015.
That is the REAL import and impact of this ruling.
Ok, here's the straight scoop from someone who has been following the Rambus story for more than a decade (and yes, I'm "pro Rambus" but I try to "shoot straight"):
1. The Barth patents are almost certainly valid and really will give Rambus 5 more years of coverage over most PC computer memory. The "one trick pony" just became, AT LEAST, a "two trick pony". [In fact, it's probably a 4 or 5 trick pony, but we will leave that for later.]
2. The Ware patents are relatively weaker and have about a 50% chance of ultimately being found valid (or invalid). They don't expire until 2020; they do not cover memory itself, rather they cover memory controllers (e.g. anything that USES certain types of memory (including DDR3 and later forms), which is, arguably, as good if not better).
3. The appeal path for this ruling is to the full ITC commission and then to the CAFC (court of appeals). This will be a relatively fast appeals path, as legal appeals go. The ITC appeal will likely take 2 to 8 months, and the case should be at the CAFC THIS CALENDAR YEAR, with a decision next year. On patent matters, the CAFC is pretty much "it", the absolute final authority.
4. The list of named, specific co-respondants (defendants) in this case is long and prominent. It includes HP, Asus and Gigabyte, along with about a dozen others. If an exclusion order is issued, WHICH IS ALMOST CERTAIN, it means that the importation of anything using NVidia chipsets will be banned. NVidia's infringement in this case covers both it's graphics chips and it's motherboard chipsets. Thus the banned products will include video cards, motherboards, laptop computers and desktop computers. Again, as I said in the title, THIS CASE IS A BIG DEAL.
5. Many of you have heard "propaganda" about Rambus patents being invalidated in "re-exams" at the patent office (PTO). [In fact, NVidia PR has been a major source of such propaganda during the prosecution of this case.] Propaganda is just what that is. The PTO has been all over the place on these re-exams, sometimes changing it's views on the validity of the same patent back and forth from 3 to 5 times. It really doesn't matter, however. The PTO examination procedure is horrifically lengthy (probably 6 years in most cases) and it ends at the CAFC. But the CAFC has already validated several key Rambus patents and the patents in this case will be found valid or invalid by the CAFC likely in 2011. So the "re-exams" going on at the patent office (which most recently have upholding most key Rambus patents anyway) are really, at this point, irrelevant noise, a redundant effort that will be made moot by other appeals that reach the CAFC first (also, court infringement cases, ALL OF WHICH RAMBUS HAS SO FAR WON, trump PTO findings if there is a conflict). Rambus has about 1,200 patents issued or applied for, with an average of probably 20 claims each. A party infringes if they violate any one single claim of any one single patent. That's all Rambus needs, and there are no current or envisioned forms of DRAM memory in volume production that do not infringe not one but many Rambus patents.
I think your poor use of the language(these news, throw for through) and especially the shouting with large CAPS points out that you are a poorly educated fool who is not worth reading. Therefore I once again thank YAHOO for the Ignore User button.
I've been here since 1999. With over 10,000 posts, but like most of the Rambus crowd (long and short) I mostly moved to IV back when Yahoo destroyed their own board (this board) by changing the board software about 5 years ago. Most of my early posts were under my real name (Watzman).
I want to ask a question and I want people to answer it objectively:
What judge would honestly impose a ban that stops that many major products from entering the US? What would the benefit be to "the people"? None. It would only be imposed if nVidia blantantly refused to cooperate, right?
So, if all that happened today was that a decision was made that Rambus's patents are being infringed and beyond that there is no decision on what that means in terms of settlement yet, in what world would a ban honestly be imposed at this point in the process?
Can we all agree that a ban is really the last resort? A ban does nothing for Rambus anyway except expidite a settlement. So shouldn't we more focused not on the ban, but what kind of settlement there could be?
RE: "What judge would honestly impose a ban that stops that many major products from entering the US?"
Hopefully all of them. What they are sworn to do is uphold the law.
I have a problem with your post and your outlook.
What we are talking about here is THEFT. STEALING. Plain and simple. Rambus invented this technology; they patented it; they TAUGHT over 3 dozen industry firms how to use it back when they were trying to license these firms in the early 1990's. The firms took what Rambus had invented and simply used it ... STOLE IT ... without licensing it or paying for it.
You post seems to presume that by enforcing the law a judge would simply banning the products, but that is not the case. Rather, the judge would be requiring the firms committing the theft to stop the THEFT and to being PAYING for what they are taking.
Rambus has ***NEVER*** refused to license anyone. And their royalty rates are not excessive or cripplingly high (they are 0.75% (POINT 75 PERCENT) to, tops, about 4.5%). No one is saying that NVidia can't use Rambus' technology. All that is being said is that they have to stop STEALING IT; if they are going to use it, they have to pay for it.
So if an exclusion order or injunction is issues .... the answer for the infringing firms is to license the technology and pay reasonable royalties for it's use.
You, on the other hand, seem to take the view that it's ok to simply take the technology invented and patented by someone else. Try that at Wal-Mart and see how far you get with it.
telling it like it is-5 great points of explanation inregards to rmbs patents,etc. and their validity,etc...once this stock has passed the 30 barrier, i for one, would like to "pass the hat" and send a proper renumeration to one of the "top dog posters" i have ever come across on yahoo message boards..great analysis and a lot of wisdom equal a very knowledgeable source on this board concerning RMBS... great work!
RE: "Do you think NVDA will attempt a quick settlement with Rambus now that the real possibility of exclusion exists? "
Hard to say.
Since Rambus agreed to the "EU License" this past year, ANY firm that wants to use a particular set of Rambus patents can apply for an "EU License" and Rambus cannot turn it down. And the terms of that license are pretty good (1.5% royalty on most memory, 2.5% royalty on most controllers)(the NVidia case is mostly about controllers, e.g. Graphics chips and motherboard chipsets).
What's unclear, first, is whether NVidia is inclined to bow to such pressure and, second, whether or not the "EU License" is actually broad enough to cover all of NVidia's infringing products (it was put in place primarily to cover SDRAM, DDR and DDR2 memory and their controllers, but it doesn't cover absolutely all Rambus technology or patents). However, NVidia has been fighting Rambus AGGRESSIVELY and MILITANTLY for almost a full decade. It's possible that they are just going to be stubborn and wage an all-out-battle-to-the-death before they pay Rambus one cent (that is clearly the stance that Micron, also, is taking).
Footnote 1: The EU license covers FUTURE production ONLY; it does not cover past infringement. The courts have established a damage schedule for past infringement of some Rambus patents, Hynix is paying about $500 million under that schedule, it is approximately three times higher than the EU rates, and it can be trebled (tripled; nine times higher) if a court concludes that the infringement was "willful". NVidia has been infringing for almost a decade, and is known to have been "on notice" since at least about 2002. At this point, their cumulative liability to Rambus for PAST infringement is hundreds of millions of dollars and may be approaching $1 billion. (without "trebling").
Footnote 2. If the entire industry signed up for the "EU License", Rambus' total revenue for memory would be approximately $450 million per year. This does not include memory controllers, which would be additional. Again, Rambus cannot turn down anyone for an "EU License", nor can they require that claims for past infringement be settled as a condition of the EU license. But the "EU License" doesn't cover absolutely all of Rambus' patents and technology, and we don't know if it would cover all of NVidia's ongoing infringement.
Footnote 3: The ITC, like the "EU License" is forward looking only and can't help Rambus collect damages for any past infringement. However, separate from the ITC, Rambus has an infringement case against NVidia in US Federal District Court (Judge Illston, in California). This case is proceeding separately, but won't reach a verdict until at least 2011 if not 2012 (that's where the billion+ dollars might get collected). One of the reasons that Rambus went to the ITC is that, as legal channels go, it's fast. But it can only act to prevent future infringement, it can't do anything about the past.