The EC Settlement: Rambus, Writs and the Rule of Law

Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Jun 23, 2009 9:25 AM EDT Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove
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Certainly the most watched standards-related legal conflict of the decade involves the participation of memory technology vendor Rambus, Inc. in a working group hosted by standards developer Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) in the early 1990s. Rambus has been involved in more litigation than SCO, but last week for the first time it settled a case with a regulator. The question is why?

The fame (or notoriety) of the conflict arises in part from the importance of the conduct at issue (did Rambus set a "patent trap" for implementers of the standard that emerged from the working group?), and in part from the seemingly endless string of law suits that resulted from that conduct some fifteen years ago. Literally dozens of cases, appeals, and appeals of appeals have wound through the courts of the world over the last seven year. investigations into Rambus's conduct were also brought by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, and by the European Commission in Europe.

In the course of these many suits and appeals, Rambus has sometimes won, and sometimes lost. But in every case, whenever it lost, it fought on - sometimes through multiple levels of appeal - until it ultimately prevailed.

That is, until now.

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