Rambus found guilty of monopoly and deception
By Cher Price: Wednesday 02 August 2006, 16:41
THE FTC has triumphed in an appeal it made after memory IP firm Rambus was previously acquitted by a court.
The FTC found that Rambus unlawfully obtained monopoly power over four computer memory technologies and held up progress in the PC business for four memory technologies.
The FTC said that Rambus’ deceptive conduct distorted the JEDEC standard setting holdup under section 2 of the Sherman Act.
The FTC will now decide the remedy for what it described as substantial competitive harm Rambus c caused.
The Commission which overturned an earlier court decision said that Rambus concealed its patents and patent applications after standards were already adopted and the market was locked in. After the fact, it produced the patent rabbits out of its hat.
Another commissioner, Jon Leibowitz, said that Rambus’ conduct in JEDEC standard setting not only ran foul of antitrust laws, but was intentional, inappropriate and injurious to competition and consumers.
Rambus’ share price fell by four dollars on the news. The decision has implications for royalties it’s been raking in over the last several years.
MICRON, itself involved in litigation with Rambus and which has cooperated with the government over DRAM price fixing it was involved in, applauded the move. The axes are grinding. You can hear them, can’t you? Fortunately for Rambus it hasn’t staked its future on this pre-history.
THE DECISION doesn’t affect DDR-2, which is on the point of crossover on the memory front. But nevertheless, beancounters at the OEMs and those who licensed Rambus stuff are no doubt already poring over many a spreadsheet to see if there’s a possibility of claw back.