European Commission Pursues Rambus Regarding JEDEC Standards Setting Process

August 23, 2007. The European Commission (EC) issued a release on August 23, 2007, in which it stated that it issued a Statement of Objections (SO) on July 30, 2007, to Rambus.

The SO alleged violation of European Union competition law in connection with Rambus's participation in a dynamic random access memory (DRAM) standards setting process in which it deceptively withheld information that it was patenting technologies that were incorporated into industry standards.

The EC wrote in its release that "The SO outlines the Commission’s preliminary view that Rambus has infringed EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant position (Article 82) by claiming unreasonable royalties for the use of certain patents for ``Dynamic Random Access Memory´´ chips (DRAMS) subsequent to a so-called ``patent ambush´´." (Parentheses in original.)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) long ago faulted Rambus for this same activity. It found that Rambus unlawfully monopolized the markets for four computer memory technologies that have been incorporated into industry standards for DRAM chips.

See, FTC's August 2, 2006, opinion [120 pages in PDF] in its administrative proceeding titled "In the Matter of Rambus, Inc.". See also, FTC Docket No. 9302 for hyperlinks to pleadings in this proceeding.

And see, story titled "FTC Holds That Rambus Unlawfully Monopolized Markets" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,427, August 8, 2006, and story titled "FTC Files Administrative Complaint Against Rambus" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 455, June 20, 2002.

Rambus participated in a council formerly known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council or JEDEC.

Thomas Lavelle, SVP and General Counsel of Rambus, stated in a release that "The issues raised by the European Commission include Rambus' participation in JEDEC that ended over a decade ago ... These are largely the same issues examined by a number of US courts, the Federal Trade Commission, and currently before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. We are studying the Statement of Objections and plan to respond in due course."