Valuable Rambus Patent Deemed Invalid by Patent and Trademark Office

By Joseph Mandour on February 1, 2012

LA Patent Infringement California – An appeals board for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently invalidated a third patent from tech licensing company Rambus Incorporated. According to legal documents, Rambus has used the patents to win several patent infringement lawsuits against Hewlett-Packard, Nvidia Corp., and others. The previous two patents were invalidated in September.

The three patents that the USPTO has declared invalid are known as the Barth patents and involve DDR-SDRAM memory chip technology used in personal computers. Rambus, established in 1990, has long considered the Barth patents to be among its most valued intellectual property. By aggressively using the three memory chip patents to pursue patent infringement claims against technology companies, Rambus has earned millions of dollars in licensing fees from settlement agreements resulting from its patent infringement claims.

The most recent patent invalidation by the USPTO comes as bad news to Rambus, whose stock fell sixty percent after a November 16 court decision in which it lost a $4 billion antitrust lawsuit against Micron Technology Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. The company’s stock share prices fluctuate dramatically based on the successes and failures of its intellectual property in litigation and licensing deals.

The three Barth patents were also among six that Rambus accused a long list of technology companies of infringing in a 2011 complaint with the United States International Trade Commission. The list of companies included in the Trade Commission complaint included STMicroelectonics, MediaTek, Broadcom, and others. Broadcom has since settled the lawsuit.

It remains unclear whether Rambus has filed an appeal with the USPTO to the September invalidation of two of the Barth patents. If the company were to appeal the invalidation of the third Barth patent, it would be sent back to the patent examiner for review, who would be unlikely to disrupt the decision of the appeals board. Once the appeals process at the USPTO has been exhausted, Rambus will be able to dispute the patent invalidations to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C..

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Posted in: Patent Registration