SAN JOSE, Calif. - Rambus Inc. has acquired the lighting and display portfolio of patents and technology from Imagine Designs Inc., based in Campbell, Calif.
The portfolio includes technology for general lighting, LCD backlighting, and microelectromechanical system (MEMS) displays. In addition, Imagine Designs’ founder and principal inventor Brian Richardson will join Rambus as a technical director in the Lighting and Display Technology business.
''A few of the innovative technologies developed by Imagine’s team are: color changing and optics systems used on most live concert productions; a computer server and various other computer equipment; bicycle components, and even a bobsled used in the Olympics,'' according to Imagine Design.
''Imagine’s new light valve technology can be seen in action to the right. This demonstration prototype has a contrast ratio in excess of 5000:1 and is over 90% efficient. Imagine is developing this new technology, with it’s new optics, for flat panel displays,'' according to the firm.
Rambus has been expanding its lighting IP. Rambus launched its lighting and display business in 2009. It includes edge-lit LED optical designs, MicroLens light distribution features, and light guide panels and multi-function film manufacturing technologies.
In 2009, Rambus, a technology licensing company, cquired technology and a portfolio of advanced lighting and optoelectronics patents from Global Lighting Technologies Inc. (GLT). These patented innovations, which include MicroLens light distribution technology, broaden Rambus' solutions for computing and consumer electronics. As part of this agreement, Rambus paid GLT $26 million.
Last year, Rambus acquired a portion of Uni-Pixel's intellectual property portfolio relating to dynamic backlighting, field sequential color displays, and time multiplexed optical shutter display technology for $2.25 million. In addition, Uni-Pixel has entered into an engineering services agreement with Rambus for future collaboration and technology development.
Also last year, GE Lighting, a unit of the General Electric Company's appliances and lighting business, signed a licensing agreement for the use of Rambus' lighting patents, reference designs and manufacturing process know-how.
Last month, Rambus updated its guidance for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010. As a result of the recent patent license agreement with Elpida, the company revised its revenue guidance for the quarter to be between $85 million and $93 million. Rambus initially provided revenue guidance for the quarter in the range of $40 million and $50 million.
Rambus recently reported financial results for the third quarter of 2010. Revenue for the third quarter of 2010 was $31.7 million, down 18 percent sequentially from the second quarter of 2010 primarily due to lower patent royalty revenue. As compared to the third quarter of 2009, revenue was up 14 percent primarily due to the revenue recognized from the agreements signed with Samsung during the first quarter of 2010.
Net loss for the third quarter of 2010 was $20.6 million as compared to a net loss of $12.5 million in the second quarter of 2010 and a net loss of $27.5 million in the third quarter of 2009.
Rambus, widely known for its hardball legal tactics in the memory chip business, may turn out to be a godsend for inventors armed with big ideas but few resources to protect their intellectual property and advance their creations for broad market adoption.
The United States International Trade Commission recently announced that it will launch an investigation into various chips and memory controllers and products that contain them, including PC motherboards, modems, routers and computers, following a complaint filed by Rambus.
Rambus was already pursuing six companies through the law courts alleging patent infringement but additonal companies cited as targets of the investigation include: Asus, Cisco, Garmin, Hewlett-Packard Hitachi GST, Motorola and Seagate as part of a list of 34 companies.