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Rambus Is Back In Court, Sues Nvidia

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 28 comments

Jensen Huang Nvidia

Los Altos (CA) - More bad news for Nvidia. Following faulty chips that shaved a third off the company’s market capitalization, the company is now being sued by Rambus for the alleged infringement of 17 patents.

Somehow we are not surprised to see Rambus back in court. There are sarcastic voices in Silicon Valley who claim you are not considered a real hardware company if you haven’t been sued by Rambus at least once. Rambus claims that "a number of Nvidia products" with memory controllers for SDR, DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR, and GDDR3 SDRAM infringe 17 Rambus patents.

Rambus seeks "injunctive relief barring the infringement, contributory infringement, and inducement to infringe the Rambus patents, as well as monetary damages". In plain English: Money.

"For more than six years, we have diligently attempted to negotiate a licensing agreement with Nvidia, but our good faith efforts have been to no avail," said Tom Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus. "Graphics and multimedia products require leading-edge memory performance, and as Nvidia advances its product portfolio, it infringes more and more of our patents. We are left with no other recourse than litigation to protect and seek fair compensation for the use of our patented inventions. Nevertheless, we hope to continue discussions with Nvidia to reach a negotiated settlement."

Earlier this year, AMD settled with Rambus and is now paying royalties. Nvidia decided to do the opposite and head down to court.

Rambus has great technology on hand as well as a number of smart engineers on staff and we do understand that the company needs to protect its intellectual property. Rambus is still struggling to get its XDR memory technology established beyond the Playstation 3 and there was chatter that future graphics chips may use XDR.

Nvidia clearly may be discouraged using Rambus technology in the future and we are wondering whether Nvidia will now be pushing GDDR5 memory for the rumored Playstation 4 concept - instead of XDR2 DRAM?

It is too early to tell how the case between Rambus and Nvidia will develop, but common sense suggests that suing your customers isn’t always a good idea.

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  • -1 Hide
    eagle07 , July 11, 2008 7:33 PM
    quote: "It is too early to tell how the case between Rambus and Nvidia will develop, but common sense suggests that suing your customers isn’t always a good idea."

    you are too kind
  • -1 Hide
    njalterio , July 11, 2008 7:49 PM
    I really hate companies like Rambus. This is probably the only case where I wish the U.S. government would just step in and dissolve Rambus. They don't do anything except sue people and get in the way.
  • -1 Hide
    master9716 , July 11, 2008 10:04 PM
    I dont understand how rambus is still alive who are they making ram for? I wish they would go bankrupt already.
  • 1 Hide
    ryaninomaha , July 11, 2008 10:23 PM
    Rambus is just another useless IP patent holding company now. Their only source of income is court awarded settlements and royalty payments (also the results of their lawsuits). They don't build or manufacture anything and are little more than a leach on the industry as a whole. I guarantee that they have 10X as many lawyers on staff as they have engineers. Sadly these type of companies will continue to exist until something is done w/ the broken patent laws in this country.
  • -3 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , July 11, 2008 10:56 PM
    Don't worry if royalties are paid Nvidia will find a way to get the money from us (the consumer) to make up for its losses. Boy I would like to shove a RAM a BUS up their own ***.
  • 0 Hide
    ovaltineplease , July 11, 2008 10:56 PM

    AMD already has been had by Rambus.

    Read the following Federal Trade Commission document for information about the case against Rambus for its illegitimately obtained monopoly.
  • -2 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , July 11, 2008 10:57 PM
    Correction: RAM a BUS up their own ***.
  • 1 Hide
    BallistaMan , July 12, 2008 1:17 AM
    It seems a bit late to be suing over DDR...

    I say go get 'em Nvidia!
  • 0 Hide
    mat347 , July 12, 2008 2:51 AM
    Yeah, DDR came out right after RAMBUS was an actual RAM product...why didn't they go after DDR away instead of waiting around and suing all the companies that seem to be making money. There's a reason Intel stopped supporting RDRAM...price/performance...RAMBUS needs to quit suing everyone for their 15 year old tech!
  • 0 Hide
    dragunover , July 12, 2008 4:49 AM
    So,XDR2 has no innovation? Jeez.

    All I care is,if prices go up and I'm not getting crap,then I don't need it.
  • 0 Hide
    photographer , July 12, 2008 8:53 AM
    Hmmmm, is it me or does this look like AMD/ATI is funding a legal war between RAMBUS and Nvidia ?
  • 0 Hide
    Shin-san , July 13, 2008 4:11 AM
    To master9716: Sony is a major RAMBUS buyer, especially for their Playstation brand
  • -1 Hide
    Zerk , July 13, 2008 6:07 AM
    They Cant make Money off there Own Junk so they Sue Everyone to make money! idiots!!!
  • 0 Hide
    photographer , July 13, 2008 11:19 AM
    Reminds me of the whole SCO UNIX debacle where SCO was suing everyone that dared to create a Linux distro. Of course they got their comeuppance from Novell who subsequently pulled what little rug was remaining under SCO out by declining to sue anyone.
  • 0 Hide
    IntelAMDNvidiaCo , July 13, 2008 4:18 PM
    I think AMD/Ati , Nvidia and all the others should play together against that shit of a "Company" called Rambus.
  • 0 Hide
    royalcrown , July 13, 2008 4:33 PM
    I hope the judge puts the hurt on rambus and tell them to stfu and die already! They are worse than friggin SCO !
  • 4 Hide
    aznguy0028 , July 13, 2008 9:14 PM
    i'm not too big of a fan of Nvidia because of the lag on DX10.1, holding back the industry...and how they recycle their cards over and over, finally hopefully embracing GDDR5 in their next gen of cards...but i'm sure everyone here feels that Rambus needs to die. it pisses me off everytime i read another damn Rambus lawsuit, someone needs to fly in with a jet and drop some nuclear warheads on that crap of a "company". good game -_-
  • 0 Hide
    mat347 , July 13, 2008 9:54 PM
    This reminds me of a report, for school, I did on RAMBUS when it was first coming out and how DIFFERENT it was than DDR...yet all I've heard from them is how they own the patents to these different techs....whateva!
  • -3 Hide
    frodbonzi , July 14, 2008 4:07 AM
    njalterioI really hate companies like Rambus. This is probably the only case where I wish the U.S. government would just step in and dissolve Rambus. They don't do anything except sue people and get in the way.

    Really.... You don't think that INVENTING the frickin memory in the first place isn't useful??
  • -2 Hide
    frodbonzi , July 14, 2008 4:14 AM
    While they didn't invent EVERYTHING they have patents to, they DID invent RDRAM, which was much better than DDR....

    Intel (and the other companies) made a foolish choice in backing DDR instead, and Rambus is paying them back in kind all these years later...

    Rambus STILL creates RAM for the Playstation, and will hopefully do so for the latest PS4 when it comes out.... and hopefully will be brought back into the fold for next gen graphics cards, as DDR5 has unacceptable latency issues, that look like they will continue into DDR6 and beyond!
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