Rambus reaches ‘tentative’ antitrust agreement with EU

Los Altos, (CA) – Rambus has reached a tentative settlement with the European Commission to resolve the pending legal action against the company dating from August 2007.

Under the proposed resolution, the Commission would drop JEDEC-related charges, and no fine would be imposed. In return, Rambus will commit to offer licenses with a cap on maximum royalty rates for certain memory types and memory controllers. European Commission antitrust procedures stipulate that a final decision must be preceded by a consultation of interested third parties on the terms and this process was started today. Rambus plans a briefing call early Friday, PDT.

“Our view regarding standard-setting organizations is that the rules of such organizations must be written and clear, and that there should be consequences if such clear written rules are violated,” said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus.

“We did nothing wrong during our participation in the JEDEC standard-setting organization, as demonstrated in multiple US court victories including before the D.C. Court of Appeals. With this proposed resolution, we create a new platform where all parties can move forward by licensing our patented innovations for future use in their products rather than engaging in costly litigation.”

Rambus plans to offer licenses with maximum royalty rates for five-year worldwide licenses of 1.5 percent for DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3 and GDDR4 SDRAM memory. Licensees who ship less than 10 percent of their DRAM products in the older SDR and DDR DRAM types will enjoy a royalty holiday.

In addition, Rambus will offer licenses with maximum royalty rates for five-year worldwide licenses of 1.5 percent per unit for SDR memory controllers through April 2010, dropping to one percent thereafter, and royalty rates of 2.65 percent per unit for DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3 and GDDR4 memory controllers through April 2010, then dropping to two percent. The rates will be valid for five years from the date of the final EU ruling. The rates will not apply retrospectively.

In the US, the FTC recently dropped its investigation into alleged wrongdoing by the company.