Nvidia slapped for violating Rambus patents

It would appear that the patent trolls at Rambus have scored a high profile victory today, with Bloomberg reporting that US International Trader Commission Judge Theodore Essex has ruled chipmaker Nvidia has violated no less than three of the firm’s patents.

The ruling – which stems from a complaint filed in November 2008 by Rambus, involving memory controllers related to graphics processors – could mean that certain NVIDIA chips and the products they’re used in could be banned, including certain PCs from Hewlett-Packard.

It could also result in a ban on imports from other Nvidia filled products including those made by Asus, BFG, Palit, Sparkle, MSI, Gigabyte, Biostar, EVGA, Pine Technology Holdings and International Diablotek. Dear oh dear, Nvidia.

Of course, now that the ruling has been made, the battle of the spin commences, with Rambus noting in its statement that “the judge issued an initial determination finding that three of five patents Rambus asserted against Nvidia arevalid, enforceable and infringed’,” whilst NVIDIA’s legal boffins try another twist on things.

“The International Trade Commission (ITC) has made an initial determination that two of the five Rambus patents at issue are invalid and unenforceable, in an action that had been brought against Nvidia,” the firm’s press release says. Always a silver, lining, eh?

But David Shannon, Nvidia’s executive vice president and general counsel did note that while “We are pleased with the initial determination from the ITC finding two patents invalid,” the firm was “disappointed about its ruling on the other three patents.”

“All five of the patents continue to be subject to reexamination proceedings in the Patent and Trademark Office, in which the Office has consistently found the asserted claims of all of these patents to be invalid,” he continued, concluding:

“We will now take the patents before the full commission for a full review of the initial determination announced today.”

Indeed, the decision is now subject to review of the full ITC “which can affirm, modify, reverse, set aside or remand all or part of the decision.”

Nvidia spinners could not be cajoled into further comment on the problem, noting it was “corporate shenanigans.”