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In the Matter of Rambus Incorporated.
FTC Matter/File Number
011 0017
Docket Number
Enforcement Type
Part 3 Administrative Complaints

Case Summary

The Commission filed an administrative complaint charging that between 1991 and 1996 Rambus, Inc. joined and participated in the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (JEDEC), the leading standard-setting industry for computer memory. According to the complaint, while a member of JEDEC, Rambus observed standard-setting work involving technologies which Rambus believed were or could be covered by its patent applications, but failed to disclose this to JEDEC. In 1999 and 2000, after JEDEC had adopted industry-wide standards incorporating the technologies at issue and the industry had become locked in to the use of those technologies, Rambus sought to enforce its patents against companies producing JEDEC-compliant memory, and collected substantial royalties from several producers of DRAM (dynamic random access memory).

The administrative law judge dismissed all charges against Rambus, finding that Rambus’ conduct before the JEDEC standard-setting organization did not amount to deception and did not violate any extrinsic duties, such as a duty of good faith to disclose patents or patent applications. Upon review, the FTC issued an opinion concluding that Rambus unlawfully monopolized markets for four computer memory technologies that have been incorporated into industry standards DRAM chips. The Commission found that, through a course of deceptive conduct, Rambus was able to distort a critical standard-setting process and engage in an anticompetitive “hold up” of the computer memory industry. In a separate opinion on the appropriate remedy, the Commission barred Rambus from making misrepresentations or omissions to standard-setting organizations, and required Rambus to license its SDRAM and DDR SDRAM technology and setting limits to the royalty rates it can collect under the licensing agreements.Tp>

Rambus appealed the Commission’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and in April 2008, the appellate court set aside the Commissions final orders. The Supreme Court denied the Commission's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, and on May 14, 2009 the Commission formally dismissed the complaint.

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