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ITC judge says 3 companies didn’t violate Rambus’ patents

The ITC’s final decision, however, isn’t expected until July

Things aren’t looking good for Rambus Inc. at the moment. The technology licensing giant looks to be losing the early rounds of its patent infringement litigation against a litany of companies.

International Trade Commission (ITC) Judge Theodore Essex said Friday that chipmakers LSI Corp. and MediaTek Inc., and chip design company STMicroelectronics NV, did not violate Rambus’ chip technology patents. Rambus is accusing a number of companies of infringing six of its patents for memory controllers and high-speed, chip-to-chip communications, among other things.

Rambus has settled similar litigation with Nvidia Corp., Broadcom Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Holdings I Ltd. in the past year. Additionally, one of the six patents at issue was dropped from the case against LSI, MediaTek and STMicroelectronics.

"We have yet to receive the decision, but are disappointed with the initial determination of no violation," Rambus Senior Vice President and General Counsel Thomas Lavelle told Reuters. "We believe in the strength of our portfolio and remain committed to protecting our patented inventions from unlicensed use."

Complicating matters for Rambus is the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeals board has declared three of the remaining five patents at issue in the case invalid. Two of the three patents, which are collectively known as the Barth patents, were declared invalid in September 2011. The third patent’s invalidation was announced in January. The patents remain valid, however, during the appeals process, which is ongoing.

The full ITC is expected to make its ruling in July.

This case aside, Rambus may best be remembered for the FTC’s 2006 decision in In re Rambus Inc., which once was widely hailed as a landmark ruling that created powerful legal protections for the integrity of standard-setting processes,before the D.C. Circuit reversed the decision in 2008.

For more, read Reuters.

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