Rambus has had a good run filing lawsuits against just about anyone and everyone associated with the memory business. Now, the company's capacity for legal instigation may be in jeopardy. Reuters reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office has declared that two of Rambus' patents—known as the Barth I patents—are invalid. A decision on a third patent is due within months.
Two patents may not sound like much, but Reuters says Rambus used these particular patents to win suits against Nvidia, HP, and other companies. Nvidia was sued over the memory controllers built into its graphics processors, and like many other targets of Rambus' litigative ire, it ended up settling out of court. (I don't recall the settlement sum being disclosed.)
Rambus intends to appeal; it sent out a statement saying, "We are confident in the validity of our patents and are exploring our next steps to seek reversal of these decisions." Quite conveniently for the firm, filing an appeal will have the effect of upholding the validity of the two patents the USPTO declared invalid, according to Reuters.