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.
Just ask Jeff Parker, an inventor of advanced lighting and optoelectronics technologies who now works as senior vice president in the lighting technology unit at Rambus.
Before joining the memory IP vendor last year, Parker and his team at Global Lighting Technologies (GLT; Chung-Li, Taiwan) patented technologies for LED backlighting of LCD panels in large-screen TVs.
Compared with various other LED backlighting methods, LED edgelighting, developed by Parker’s team, dramatically reduces the total number of LEDs needed to illuminate the screen, resulting in lower cost as well as superior brightness and control on the panel. The team has also developed LED-based edgelighting technology for residential and commercial lighting fixtures that can be made in a range of sizes and flexed into various shapes.
But the inventor discovered that competitors were ripping off his technologies. Asian competitors selling to the same OEMs as GLT were free to copy its technologies. Parker, who understood the potential of GLT’s technology, quickly had to find a way to defend it against copycats even as he and his team worked on new ideas.
I think that's totally balmy. How can you patent edge lighting of a flat panel? That's just so obvious and has been done so many times before. We did it 10 years ago, and saw it somewhere then. The patent system is broke. It's time they get rid of them all together.
I totally understand. But on the other hand, this is a great way for readers to find out what's in EE Times Confidential. Without a teaser, nobody will know. And if you are interested, you should sign up for it.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for todayís commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.