Rambus noses ahead in Nvidia patent spat

Rambus is pretty pleased with itself after a US International Trade Commission judge said he agreed with the controversial memory company in its claim that Nvidia violated three of its patents.

Nvidia was able to claim partial victory as well, as Judge Theodore Essex decided that a further two patents that Rambus was quibbling about were unenforceable.

Rambus filed a complaint with the ITC Back in November 2008, asking for a ban on products that it claimed infringed nine of its patents. Four of the asserted patents were subsequently withdrawn from the investigation. Now the Judge has thrown out a further two.

The products under investigation incorporate certain Nvidia memory controllers, and include graphics processors and media and communications processors.

"We are pleased with the initial determination from the ITC finding two patents invalid but disappointed about its ruling on the other three patents," David Shannon, Nvidia's executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. "All five of the patents continue to be subject to re-examination proceedings in the Patent and Trademark Office, in which the Office has consistently found the asserted claims of these patents to be invalid. We will now take the patents before the full commission for a final decision on whether any of these patents are valid, enforceable, and infringed."

While Rambus' senior vice president and general counsel Tom Lavelle said in his statement that he was pleased that the judge had found in its favour in two instances, “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.”

Rambus' complaint also affects companies that use the disputed technology in products sold in the US.

It's a long list so take a deep breath: 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.

The ITC action is Investigation Number 337-TA-661.

Rambus earlier this week extracted close to a billion dollars out of Samsung in an out-of-court settlement of separate memory patent dispute.