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Nvidia faces a US import ban

Didn't pay the fare on Rambus
Mon Jan 25 2010, 11:09

GRAPHICS CHIP DESIGNER Nvidia is facing a US import ban on some of its chips after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that it nicked some Rambus technology.

In October of last year, Rambus lost a case against Nvidia and the US Patent Office said the former's claims that Nvidia had infringed its patents were groundless. However the ITC has announced that out of five patents, Nvidia did violate three of them.

If the ban goes ahead then HP, MSI, Gigabyte, Asus and other manufacturers' products that contain Nvidia chips could be refused entry by US customs.

The problems are in Nvidia's DRAM memory and memory controllers, so the chips that could face the ban are the nForce, Quadro, GeForce, Tesla and Tegra series, in other words just about everything the Green Goblin sells.

Tom Lavelle, Rambus senior vice president and general counsel, said he was pleased with the ITC's determination that three of its patents are valid and infringed. He was disappointed with the result for Rambus's two other asserted patents, though, and intends to request the commission's review of those parts of its initial determination.

However, despite the fact it's facing what might appear to be certain doom, the Green Goblin declared a victory against Rambus. David Shannon, Nvidia executive vice president and general counsel, said he was pleased with the initial determination from the ITC finding two Rambus patents invalid, but disappointed about its ruling on the other three.

Shannon dismissed Rambus's victory on the other three patents because they will continue to be subject to reexamination proceedings in the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). He claimed that the US PTO has consistently found Rambus's asserted claims invalid.

We guess that this one will run and run. µ


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