Well, Rambus has wrapped up another round of litigation. This time, Nvidia has agreed to sign a patent license agreement with the
patent troll technology licensing firm. Here are the dirty details from the official press release:
The agreement covers the use of Rambus patented innovations in a broad range of integrated circuit (IC) products offered by NVIDIA. In addition, the two companies have settled all outstanding claims, including resolution of past use of Rambus’ patented innovations. The term of this agreement is five years; other details are confidential.
We won't blame you for forgetting Rambus and Nvidia were even in a legal spat. After all, the initial lawsuit was filed over three years ago. Rambus accused Nvidia of infringing on 17 patents with the memory controllers built into various products, from GeForce GPUs to nForce chipsets. At the time, Rambus had allegedly been trying to get a licensing agreement out of Nvidia for "more than six years."
That's about all we heard until late January 2010, when the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in Rambus' favor, saying Nvidia infringed on three Rambus patents. Nvidia General Counsel David Shannon said at the time, "[it's] unrealistic to think that there's going to be an agreement any time soon." He was right.
Last September, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office invalidated two of the patents from the ITC ruling. And then, late last month, it ruled that the third patent was also invalid, making Rambus' case potentially shaky. The terms of the company's patent licensing agreement with Nvidia haven't been made public, but I'd be interested to know who benefited more from the deal.
Update 12:16 PM: The original version of this story lacked some background information pertaining to the case. Thanks to TR reader HighTech4US2 for kindly pointing it out.