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Rambus goes on patent offensive

Rambus, a self-described 'technology licensing company,' has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission to prevent the importation and sale of certain products from companies including Nvidia, Freescale, and Broadcom amid claims of patent infringement.

The complaint, filed today, accuses Broadcom, Freescale Semiconductor, LSI Corporation, MediaTek, Nvidia and STMicroelectronics of infringing patents held by Rambus in a pair of patent pools known as 'Daily' and 'Barth.'

The affected products claimed to infringe the Daily pool include certain PCI Express cards with SATA, SAS, and DisplayPort interfaces, while the Barth pool covers devices with memory controllers capable of addressing the entire gamut of the DDR family - or, to put it another way, a significant percentage of the overall product portfolios of the listed companies.

Harold Hughes, president of Rambus, defended the filing of the complaint, claiming: "We have been attempting to license these companies for some time to no avail. One of the respondents frankly told us that the only way they would get serious is if we sued them.

"Others pursued a strategy of delay rather than negotiate a reasonable resolution. Rambus has invested hundreds of millions of dollars developing a portfolio of technologies that are foundational for many digital electronics. In fairness to our shareholders and to our paying licensees, we take these steps to protect our patented innovations and pursue fair compensation for their use."

The complaint, which will see the ITC making a decision as to whether to open an investigation into the accusations within 45 days and could lead to sanctions including the affected products being banned from US markets, is joined by lawsuits filed against each named company in the Californian district court systems.

Thus far, none of the companies named in the complaint have issued statements on the matter.