ITC Rules Against Rambus in Memory and Signal Interfaces Patents Infringement Case

Rambus Loses U.S. ITC Case Against LSI and STMicroelectronics, Plans to Appeal

by Anton Shilov
07/26/2012 | 09:58 PM

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued its notice of final determination in the action brought by Rambus against LSI Logic, ST Microelectronics and other respondents. In its notice, the ITC affirmed the initial determination issues earlier this year that the respondents did not infringe several patents held by Rambus, including a number of those that belong to Barth and Dally families of patents, which cover memory and signal interfaces.


"The U.S. International Trade Commission has determined to terminate the [mentioned] investigation with a finding of no violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1337," a statement by the ITC reads.

On December 1, 2010, Rambus filed a complaint with the ITC requesting an investigation pertaining to certain respondent products. The ITC instituted the investigation on January 4, 2011. The complaint alleged the infringement of various claims of patents including U.S. patents 6,470,405; 6,591,353; 7,287,109 (the Barth patents); and 7,602,857; and 7,715,494 (the Dally patents). The Barth patents share a common specification, as do the Dally patents.

For the Dally patents, the accused semiconductor products from the aforementioned companies include ones that incorporate PCI Express, certain Serial ATA, certain Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), and DisplayPort interfaces. In the case of the Barth patents, the accused semiconductor products include ones that incorporate DDR, DDR2, DDR3, mobile DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR2, and GDDR3 memory controllers. Accused semiconductor products in the complaint include graphics processors, media processors, communications processors, chip sets and other logic integrated circuits (ICs). Since the investigation was instituted, Rambus has signed patent license agreements with former Respondents Broadcom, Freescale and Nvidia.

The notice of investigation named as respondents Freescale Semi. Broadcom, LSI Corp., Mediatek, Nvidia, STMicroelectronics as well as approximately twenty customers of one or more of these respondents. The investigation has since been terminated against many of the respondents on the basis of Rambus’s settlements with Broadcom, Freescale, MediaTek, and Nvidia. LSI and STMicro are the only two manufacturer respondents remaining. With them as respondents are their customers Asustek Computer, Cisco Systems, Garmin, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi GST and Seagate Technology.

On May 3, 2012, the commission determined to review the ID in its entirety and the determined to terminate the investigation with a finding of no patent infringements. ALJ Theodore R. Essex ruled that all of the asserted patent claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 102 or 103, except for the asserted Dally multiple-transmitter claims (’857 claims 11-13, 32-34, 50-52), for which he found that Rambus has not demonstrated infringement.

The final ruling issued on Thursday reverses the ALJ’s determination that Rambus has demonstrated the existence of a domestic industry for both the Barth patents and Dally patents. The ITC affirms the ALJ’s determination that the Barth patents are unenforceable under the doctrine of unclean hands. The ITC affirms the ALJ’s finding of exhaustion of the Barth patents as to one respondent.

“We are evaluating our next steps in this matter, which may include a possible appeal to the Federal Circuit. We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting our patented inventions from unlicensed use,” said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus.