Nvidia Not Going to Sign Settlement Agreement with Rambus

Nvidia Promises to Keep Selling GPUs Despite Threats from Rambus

by Anton Shilov
01/29/2010 | 12:21 PM

Nvidia Corp., a leading supplier of graphics and multimedia chips, said that it would not negotiate with Rambus over patent dispute even though an ITC judge preliminary found the company guilty of infringement of three Rambus’ patents.

 

“Rambus and Nvidia talked for eight years before they sued us. I don’t think it’s realistic to think that there’s going to be an agreement any time soon between the two companies,” said David Shannon, Nvidia’s general counsel, in an interview with BusinessWeek.

Last week it transpired that Judge Theodore Essex with the U.S. International Trade Commission found Nvidia guilty of infringing three patents of Rambus. The finding is subject to review by the six-member commission and, if upheld, could lead to a ban on imports of Nvidia chips and products on their base into the U.S. Nevertheless, Nvidia is sure that its business will not be stopped. Nvidia has numerous options to impede any ruling banning imports, if the commission sides with Rambus, Nvidia can appeal to a court that specializes in patent law.

“Our customers will never have their businesses interrupted. Our position is there will be no exclusion order,” said Mr. Shannon.

According to findings of ITC and USPTO, some patents of Rambus are not valid, which is why the chip designer is not going to pay royalties to the technology developer. The question is, however, whether Nvidia plans to pay royalties for the three patents

“We are not going to pay on patents that are not valid,” said Mr. Shannon.

In June 2008 Rambus accused Nvidia and its partners in infringement of seventeen patents, of which six are to expire in early 2010. The patents are believed to be related to memory controllers inside Nvidia’s chips. The companies are in the legal battle at the moment.