Canadian laboratory sues Dell over Rambus technology

A Canadian research lab has taken legal action against hardware giant Dell for breaching a patent it says is its own.

The Alberta Telecommunications Research Center, which trades as TR Labs, started the action in  a Northern District of California court last week.

TR Labs says it owns US patent 5,361,277, called “Method and apparatus for clock distribution and for clock synchronization”, invented by TR Labs’ chief scientist in network systems research, a Dr Wayne Grover. Dr Grover has written a book called Clocking Schemes, and in 1999 was named Canada’s outstanding engineer by the IEEE organization.

The patent in question was applied for on March 30 1989 and granted on November 1 1994 – a similar Canadian patent application filed on April 27 1988 is numbered 1,301,261.

Dell, says the allegation, is a product licensee of Rambus which use RDRAM and breaches the TR Labs patent. TR Labs wants Dell to pay a reasonable royalty, interest to compensate it for its existing use, and legal fees.