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EC takes Rambus' offer, closes case

Posted: 15 Dec 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Rambus EC case  memory  SDRAM 

Rambus Inc. announced that the European Commission (EC) has accepted commitments proposed by the technology licensing company to resolve the matter that had been pending with the EC. This decision by the EC brings the matter involving licences for memory architectures to a close. As part of the settlement, Rambus commits to offer licences with maximum royalty rates for certain memory types and memory controllers on a forward-going basis. Also, the EC makes no finding of liability, and no fine will be assessed against Rambus.

"We are pleased to have this matter closed with the EC. Following a long and detailed examination of the facts, the EC did not find that Rambus violated the law, nor did it impose any fine," said Thomas Lavelle, senior VP and general counsel at Rambus. "For our part, we agree to offer licens (use 'c' in noun form)es at attractive rates for customers to use our patented innovations in computing and electronics products for consumers worldwide."

Rambus offers licences with maximum royalty rates for five-year worldwide licences of 1.5 per cent for DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3 and GDDR4 SDRAM memory types. Qualified licensees will enjoy a royalty holiday for SDR and DDR DRAM devices, subject to compliance with the terms of the licence. Rambus also offers licences with maximum royalty rates for five-year worldwide licences of 1.5 per cent per unit for SDR memory controllers through April 2010, dropping to 1.0 per cent thereafter, and royalty rates of 2.65 per cent per unit for DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3 and GDDR4 memory controllers through April 2010, then dropping to 2.0 per cent. Rambus will offer these licensing rates for the next five years. The royalty rates are applicable to future shipments only, and do not resolve any existing claims in other cases.

The EC originally brought charges against Rambus in August 2007 alleging violation of European Union competition law. The EC's investigation followed complaints set forth by certain DRAM manufacturers originating with Rambus' 1992-1995 participation in an industry standard-setting organisation, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC). Similar charges had been pursued by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC closed its investigation following a series of US Court rulings underlining that the allegations of Rambus' wrongdoing were ill-founded. On June 12, the EC announced its intention to accept Rambus' proposed commitments, subject to market testing as prescribed by EU law. Following the market testing, certain terms of the Commitment were amended by Rambus resulting in this matter coming to a close.

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