Rambus reaches tentative settlement with European Commission

By , IDG News Service |  Legal, DRAM, memory

High-speed memory developer Rambus is close to settling a complaint brought against it by the European Commission in 2007, it said Friday.

The European Commission originally accused Rambus of a "patent ambush" whereby the EC said Rambus failed to declare it owned relevant patents for DRAM chips while the standard was being finalized and then went on to claim licensing fees from companies making the chips. DRAM is the main type of memory used in all personal computers.

Under the terms of a tentative deal reached between the two, Rambus will cap licensing fees for five-year licenses of its patents at 1.5 percent for several types of DRAM, including DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3 and GDDR4. The deal would also mean the European Commission makes no finding of liability against Rambus and does not levy a fine on the company.

Before the proposed deal can be finalized there must be some consultation with interested third parties. This consultation has just begun, Rambus said.

The tentative settlement comes a month after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropped its antitrust case against memory maker Rambus, after losing a U.S. Supreme Court case in February.

"We did nothing wrong during our participation in the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standard-setting organization, as demonstrated in multiple U.S. court victories including before the D.C. Court of Appeals," said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus, in a statement. "With this proposed resolution, we create a new platform where all parties can move forward by licensing our patented innovations for future use in their products rather than engaging in costly litigation."

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