SAN FRANCISCO—An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an initial determination Friday (March 2) that LSI Corp., MediaTek Inc., STMicroelectronics NV and other firms did not infringe upon several patents held by technology licensor Rambus Inc.
The initial determination and preceding ITC investigation stemmed from a December 2010 complaint filed by Rambus against LSI, MediaTek, ST and others, claiming infringement of several patents in Rambus' so-called Dally and Barth patent families.
Rambus (Sunnyvale, Calif.) said it may request that the full ITC review the judge's initial determination. The full commission would have the power to affirm the judge's determination, effectively ending the case, or modify, reverse or set aside the determination, Rambus said.
"We have yet to receive the decision, but are disappointed with the initial determination of no violation," said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus, in a statement. "We believe in the strength of our portfolio and remain committed to protecting our patented inventions from unlicensed use."
Rambus said the same judge, Theodore R. Essex, found in an earlier investigation that three Rambus patents at issue in this investigation were valid, enforceable and infringed by Nvidia Corp. That determination was affirmed by the full ITC before Nvidia and Rambus signed a patent license agreement in 2010, Rambus said.
Nvidia was among the companies named in the recent investigation, No. 337-TA-753, prior to signing the license deal. Broadcom Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. were also accused by Rambus of infringing its patents in the case, but later signed agreements to license Rambus technology.
In the original complaint, Rambus asserted that respondents' products that incorporate DDR, DDR2, DDR3, mobile DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR2 and GDDR3 memory controllers infringed upon the Barth patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has since ruled that these patents are invalid.
In the case of the Dally patents, Rambus had claimed that the accused companies' products that PCI Express, certain Serial ATA, certain Serial Attached SCSI and DisplayPort interfaces infringed upon them. Rambus claims to be the exclusive licensee for the Dally family of patents, which are owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The patents are named for their inventor, William Dally, now chief scientist at Nvidia.