The ITC investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by Rambus in December 2010 against the chip makers and about 20 customers of one or more of the group. Rambus had claimed that the chip makers violated patents in two patent portfolios held by Rambus, including the Dally1 portfolio, named for William Dally, now the chief technology officer at Nvidia.
Rambus eventually reached licensing agreements Broadcom, Freescale, MediaTek and Nvidia over the technology at issue.
The ITC ruling Wednesday said the commission affirmed the administrative law judge's determination that some of the patents Rambus asserted against the chip makers are invalid. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also previously found these patents invalid.
The ITC did not find the Dally patents invalid, but determined that Rambus did not demonstrate that the chip makers infringed on these patents, according to the ruling.
The commission reversed a finding by the administrative law judge that Rambus demonstrated the existence of domestic injury for the Dally and Barth patents. The ITC affirmed the administrative law judge's decision that the so-called Barth patents are "unenforceable under the doctrine of unclean hands."
“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, in a statement.
I guess Rambus has more lawyers than engineers these days. I have been seeing them in litigation for over 5 years now. It makes me wonder if their patents are really so general that many companies end up achieving that as they innovate.