The more recent episode in the drawn-out legal battle between NVIDIA and Rambus saw the latter win a victory when Judge Theodore Essex with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington said NVIDIA infringed three Rambus patents. However, in a separate proceeding, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is taking a second look at the Rambus patents and, according to David Shannon, NVIDIA’s general counsel, the three patents in question were rejected.
Naturally, Rambus is appealing that decision, but the process will take over a year, during which time the patents remain valid and enforceable. Shannon also added that the company, NVIDIA that is, had several options to prevent any import ban, even if the U.S commission sided with the plaintiff. Shannon also stated that any sort of settlement with Rambus was very unlikely.
“Rambus and Nvidia talked for eight years before they sued us,” David Shannon said in an interview today in Washington. “I don’t think it’s realistic to think that there’s going to be an agreement anytime soon between the two companies.”
In parallel, Linda Ashmore, a spokesperson for Rambus, argued that the company was keeping last week's position on the matter, namely that it was “very interested in having productive constructive settlement discussions with NVIDIA whenever they’re ready.”
Shannon, however, added that, even if the worst case scenario were to come to pass, a settlement talk with Rambus would have the latter forced to accept limits on patent royalties because of an agreement
it made with the European Commission back in December 2009. Besides that, NVIDIA said that its customers were not putting any pressure on it to settle the case and that they wouldn't be affected by it either.
“Our customers will never have their businesses interrupted,” Shannon added. “Our position is there will be no exclusion order.”