SAN JOSE, Calif. Rambus Inc. filed suit Thursday (July 10) against Nvidia Corp. for violating 17 of its memory patents. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, extends a long string of court actions involving Rambus to companies outside the memory industry.
The lawsuit alleges at least six of Nvidia's product lines infringe the Rambus patents. They include chip sets, graphics processors and applications processors. The patents cover a broad range of memory technologies ranging from synchronous DRAMs to multiple generations of double data rate SDRAMs and graphics DRAMs, Rambus claimed.
The suit asks for an injunction that would prevent Nvidia from shipping the products as well as monetary damages. It's not clear whether the action could foreshadow more suits against companies who develop memory controllers.
"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 in a prepared statement. "We are left with no other recourse than litigation to protect and seek fair compensation for the use of our patented inventions," he added.
Lavelle suggested the number of patents Rambus believes Nvidia infringes has been growing. He also said the company will continue to negotiate a licensing deal with Nvidia.
Rambus has been involved in at least seven court actions against many of the world's top DRAM makers over the last several years. The company sued several DRAM makers who would not pay royalties for its patents on SDRAMs. The DRAM makers in turn brought actions against Rambus, claiming the company intentionally withheld patented technology from DRAM standards efforts.
The Federal Trade Commission ruled in 2006 that Rambus used anti-competitive practices in obtaining some of its memory patents. But that ruling was overturned in two separate appeals cases earlier this year.