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US lawyers appeal Rambus antitrust ruling

Lawyers at the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are appealing an administrative judge's decision to strike down antitrust charges against Rambus.

A lawyer at the FTC's Bureau of Competition said the bureau intended to appeal a decision by an FTC administrative judge. In February, Judge Stephen J McGuire dismissed FTC charges that Rambus tried to monopolise the memory-chip market unfairly.

FTC commissioners will now decide whether to grant the appeal.

The FTC sued Rambus in June 2002, charging the company with violating federal antitrust laws by engaging in a pattern of anticompetitive acts and practices that served to deceive an industry-wide standard-setting organisation, resulting in adverse effects on competition and consumers.

According to the FTC, from 1992 to 1995, Rambus took part in standards-setting activity regarding SDRam (synchronous dynamic Ram) technology with the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council Solid State Technology Association (JEDEC), but did not disclose that it had also filed for patents to cover technologies involved in the standard.

Rambus said it complied with JEDEC's rules and that it filed a patent application for its memory technology in 1990, after which it was invited to join the group to develop a related standard.

Several chip makers have licensed Rambus' patents, while others have challenged the validity of Rambus' patents in court.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service


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