LOS ALTOS, Calif. -- Rambus Inc. and Intel Corp. today announced a new comprehensive patent cross-license agreement, which supersedes a prior pact between the companies. The agreement also appears to be aimed at ending doubts about Intel's support of Rambus.
According to the two companies, the new cross-license provides complete patent coverage to Intel for all patents while providing Rambus license coverage necessary for its high-speed interface businesses. Last year, Rambus launches a controversial patent-enforcement campaign aimed at collecting royalties for high-speed interface technologies in synchronous DRAMs and double-data rate (DDR) chips.
"This broad agreement will help Intel continue to be a leader in providing high-performance chip sets," said Craig Barrett, Intel president and chief executive officer. "We also look forward to continued cooperation with Rambus in the further development of RDRAM-compatible chip sets and communications chips as well as the company's support of InfiniBand and future initiatives."
Rambus said the new agreement will "have positive material impact" on its current financial quarter. Specific terms of the agreement were not released. Intel has supported Rambus, which has tried to establish its own high-speed Direct Rambus DRAM format for wide-bandwidth memories in competition with DDR.
In the past year, questions have been raised about Intel's support of Rambus memories and the Los Altos company, but today's announcement appears to be aimed at squashing doubts. Rambus also has been accused of trying to trick the industry by claiming exclusive rights to interface technologies that have been debated and adopted by industry standards groups. Rambus denies that it has done anything wrong.
"We have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Intel," said Geoff Tate, chief executive officer of Rambus. "As an R&D hub for high-speed interfaces, Rambus' objective is to produce innovations that will benefit the semiconductor and system industries, and by licensing these innovations to generate a return on our investment to our shareholders.
"We believe the RDRAM standard is the best solution for the majority of the market and our top priority," he added. "But as evidenced by this license with Intel, we are pleased to license our other memory, communications and backplane inventions as well."