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143 comments

No Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968437)

Did anyone really truly expect a proper ending?

Re:No Surprise (0, Troll)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968519)

A suddenoutbreakofcommonsense would have been nice, but it seems we have a typicalabsenseoffrontallobeactivity instead.

Re:No Surprise (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968821)

wtf is "front all OBE activity"?

Re:No Surprise (0, Offtopic)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968849)

frontal lobe
you misplaced the space by one.

Re:No Surprise (0, Offtopic)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968869)

troll, for saying that the the people in the USSC who made that decision lack higher brain function?

Rambus sycophants shouldn't be granted mod points.

The Supremes (5, Funny)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968507)

So the Supremes didn't say "Stop [bundling secretly patented technology] in the Naaaame of Love"?

Re:The Supremes (-1, Redundant)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968537)

Is it so hard to type "The Supreme Court" or "The USSC"? You sound like that TV troll, Nancy Grace, when you call them "The Supremes."

Re:The Supremes (2, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968615)

It's a song reference. You are probably too young to remember. learn more here [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Supremes (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968557)

Well, I read this as "The Supremes agreed with Rambo"

Re:The Supremes (1)

Jeoh (1393645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969253)

So the Supremes didn't say "Stop [bundling secretly patented technology] in the Naaaame of Love"?

...before you break my law

Re:The Supremes (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969641)

``Diana Ross is calling, Michael. She says you have her other glove?''

A Memory manufacturor (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968547)

Is it so hard to at least explain some of the details in the summary. Sorry Rambus isn't a well know brand name like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sun, HP... By reading the summary I had no Idea what the suit was about.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968563)

This case has been rumbling on for years and years, and you've been here for a significant amount of time so you must be aware of it!

Re:A Memory manufacturor (0, Offtopic)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968649)

Rumbling for years... Yes but before they usually state it a a major Memory Manufacure used by HP SUN .... I am sorry some people don't always keep up with slashdot and some stories just don't stick out.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968741)

If you don't know who RAMBUS is then you should, they have been a big name in computing technology for a lot longer than this RDRAM shit has been around. And if you can't use google [justfuckinggoogleit.com] then you don't deserve to Slashdot. And no, I'm not kidding this time. Every time someone cries about a well-known company not being detailed in a Slashdot summary, this site gets a little dumber.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (-1, Offtopic)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969037)

Well known company to whom? Computer geeks, but you forget there are all different kinds of geeks on slashdot. Space Geeks, Biology Geeks, Chemistry Geeks, Genetic Geeks just to name a few and as I browse the front page of this site it appears there are stories that suit all those interest.. You act like everyone should be aware of a computer hardware manufacturer, so I hope you hold yourself to the same standard and are aware of all the big names in all the other fields covered by slashdot news. If not, you are a whiny hypocrite.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969093)

You act like everyone should be aware of a computer hardware manufacturer, so I hope you hold yourself to the same standard and are aware of all the big names in all the other fields covered by slashdot news.

Actually, I just know how to use google. If I don't know something I can look it up. I have lost count of the number of times I'm sitting in someone's living room and they say "I wonder blah blah blah" and I say "have you googled it" and they say "no" and the answer is on the first page. Fuck, that applies to about half the "ask slashdot" questions, if you can just come up with a decent set of search terms - 99% of the time you can pick them right out of the summary.

If not, you are a whiny hypocrite.

Slashdot needs a CAPTCHA which restricts posting to people who are able to pass a reading comprehension test. It would certainly have prevented you from proving to the world that you are a big idiot.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (1)

Jeoh (1393645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969309)

"The US Supreme Court rejected the FTC's bid to impose anti-trust penalties on Rambus. Without comment, they let stand an appeals court decision favoring Rambus. The FTC had found that Rambus undermined competition by getting secretly patented technology included in industry standards, but the Supremes evidently didn't agree."

What is Rambus? [ enter answer here ]

Re:A Memory manufacturor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969145)

no, but he does know about this google thing, and so could be aware of any big name out there in less than a second. so, the point was not that any geek should know rambus, but how to google is a requirement to being considered at least nerdy.

not that I agree with him, but you're being more an ass for taking a sentence completely out of context and mocking that.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (2, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970445)

You act like everyone should be aware of a computer hardware manufacturer, so I hope you hold yourself to the same standard and are aware of all the big names in all the other fields covered by slashdot news.

There are things that are other people's responsibility, and there are things that are your responsibility. Then there are the occasional things that aren't so clear whose responibility it is. But this falls into the, It's so fucking trivial, why are you making such a big fuss over nothing! category.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (-1, Offtopic)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969075)

Every time someone cries about a well-known company not being detailed in a Slashdot summary, this site gets a little dumber.

He gets no points, and may God have mercy on his sole.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971055)

I often have to google "Microsoft" because I forget what they are.

I know that I don't use it.

I used to use "Ramses" condoms, but we had our first daughter, regardless, so I stopped using them.

I figured "Rambus" had something to do with condoms, but if not, then I knew I'd find out relatively anyway, without even resorting to google.

And my unfailing prophetic power was revealed within 5 posts.

Now, should I google "manufacturor"?

cheers,

Re:A Memory manufacturor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968727)

Maybe you'd do well on a non-technology site, like CNN.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968997)

What's stopping you from looking up words you don't know? I'd wager that Rambus is well-known amongst a lot of Slashdot's readership, so it's not too much of a surprise that the summary/article doesn't spell it out explicitly.

Re:A Memory manufacturor (2, Funny)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969115)

I know the term Rambus but what is this Slashdot that you speak of?

Re:A Memory manufacturor (5, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971765)

Rambus makes RAM.

Rambus essentially stole trade secrets / patented info and jury rigged them into various standards, thus making them no longer a secret and the patents unenforceable.

The people behind those secrets and patents got pissed and sued Rambus.

The lawyers have been slapping their cocks together for about 17 years, several of which have been in relation to this case.

There were decisions, there were appeals, and now the end of it is the Supreme Court ruling that lets Rambus get away free and clear.

A Hard Lesson Learned (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968561)

Not that anyone in this day and age learns from mistakes any longer -- following the economic crash, people are seeking to get back to "business as usual" failing to appreciate that "business as usual" is what caused the crash. (Interestingly, the great depression spawned all kinds of lessons and wisdom that carried for generations... it wasn't really until most of the great depression survivors died that this crash occurred.)

But I seem to be getting off-topic but not truly. The idea here is that RAMBUS got away with a very serious and ugly misdeed. They got away with it. Their reputation has been harmed but not enough that they would be shamed out of business. But industry standards people are well aware of what happened and I should hope that they will be able to prevent that sort of thing from happening ever again. They should include provisions that says things like "by providing your specifications or designs, you agree that any associated patents or other rights will be licensed to all users free of charge" or "by submitting this information for approval, you also agree that you are giving up any claims on intellectual property rights where this specification is used."

RAMBUS became instantly evil in the eyes of many with the news of their misdeed. Likewise, Microsoft became instantly evil in the eyes of those interested in ISO standards approval. These should all be counted as lessons learned. I don't think anyone uses RAMBUS RAM do they? There is good reason for it -- they priced it right out of use. Microsoft is another story...

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (2, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968623)

Well, maybe standards should just stick to unpatentable things. Like solutions that would be "obvious" to an expert in the field. That way there can't be patents, right?

/sarcasm meter (1, Funny)

MadRat (774297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968703)

*beep* *beep* *beep* *BEEEEEEEP*

Re:/sarcasm meter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26970131)

Yep, pretty sarcastic, unless I'm getting interference from a sarcastic weather balloon...

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (5, Insightful)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968721)

Unfortunately, I think the lesson propagated here is that you should sneak your patents into standards you are supposedly helping with, as no harm will come to you from your misdeed. Rambus and Microsoft are not the first companies to do this, and thanks to the encouragement they received from the Supreme Court they probably won't be the last.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

lenski (96498) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968977)

Mod parent up, folks.

RAMBUS just successfully got away with *not* playing by rules of ethical behavior.

Until we wring their sort of fraud out of common practice, this society will continue to be whipsawed by alternating cycles of greed and failure.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969173)

Did they though? Their technology is not exactly widely used...

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969583)

SDRAM isn't widely used? Or do you mean RDRAM, because if you do, you're not following the story very well, because the technology they with hidden RAMBUS patents is SDRAM. We all knew that RAMBUS RAM has RAMBUS patents.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969737)

Yes, all ddr uses 'their' technology. Just because it doesn't have their name or trademark on everything doesn't mean they don't own a chunk of it.

'their' because they actually reworded the patents to encompass the specific technologies used after filing. Yes, the patent system is that bad.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970857)

Did they though? Their technology is not exactly widely used...

RDRAM may not be widely used, but the technologies they claim patents on have, which include stuff like DDR and QDR signalling, which are used everywhere.

And let's not forget that one of the world's best selling consoles uses RDRAM as well - Playstation 2 has 32MB of RDRAM. Its successor also has 256MB of RDRAM as well.

As for the memory manufacturers forcing prices down - given the price discrepancy between DDR-SDRAM and RDRAM, there was no way the memory dumping could've easily forced RDRAM prices to be significantly (4x-8x) higher than the equivalent DDR-SDRAM. A better part of a grand for 128MB of RDRAM (while the DDR version sold for under $200) around 10 years ago? DDR prices were much in line with old SDRAM pricing in the days - while RDRAM prices were really out of this world.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (2, Insightful)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971799)

I thought everyone knew that in a system that expects everyone to act ethically, it's the unethical person that always wins.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969523)

Unfortunately, I think the lesson propagated here is that you should sneak your patents into standards you are supposedly helping with, as no harm will come to you from your misdeed. Rambus and Microsoft are not the first companies to do this, and thanks to the encouragement they received from the Supreme Court they probably won't be the last.

The only lesson to be learned here is that the FTC needs to mount a better case. The original 3 judge appeals panel ruled that the FTC basically did a poor job showing how Rambus violated the law. The full circuit declined to hear the case, and then the USSC declined. That generally means that the initial 3 judge panel got it right, and that the FTC didn't make their case.

What Rambus did was slimy and unethical, but that doesn't mean it was illegal. The activities may have been illegal, but the FTC didn't present a compelling enough case to prove it.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (4, Informative)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969551)

I'm not really immediately clear on why, but this case was litigated on a different ground than everyone here is discussing (as of the time I am posting this comment).

JEDEC is a standards board that requires members to disclose their patent holdings. With proper disclosure, JEDEC could either adopt a non-proprietary standard, or require reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing. Rambus was a member, but failed to disclose its patents, and then convinced the standards board to adopt its patents as standards.

Rather than litigating on fraud, like most people are assuming, it seems that at least at the appellate level, the FTC proceeded on an anti-trust theory. In order to succeed in an anti-trust case under the Sherman Antitrust Act, it has to be shown that your conduct reduced competition. If a company already has a monopoly, under this law, simply using it to charge higher prices isn't illegal, it's using it to quash competition that is, and it must be shown that but-for the deceptive conduct another standard would have been adopted. Now Rambus' actions are a lot of things, but it's not immediately apparent they reduced competition simply by increasing prices, and that's what the appellate court found. I don't really understand at first glance why this wasn't a fraud case.

The Supreme Court didn't actually side with anyone. They declined to review, like they do for more than 90% of cases, and this decidedly does not mean they side with either side. It simply means they're very busy and decided this wans't one of the 100 most pressing cases facing the United States in this year. Therefore, the appellate level decision stands on this case.

Source on most of what I'm saying on Rambus:
link [intellectu...awblog.com] .

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (5, Informative)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969719)

After more digging, I think I get it now.

A fraud action actually was brought by those injured by Rambus' purportedly fraudulent actions, i.e. the other memory manufacturers. The FTC wanted to also punish Rambus, so it brought a separate anti-trust case against Rambus, which was decided for Rambus by an appellate court, and that is what was just turned down for review by the Supreme Court.

The fraud actions failed after juries decided that Rambus had been showing off these technologies before the standards board meetings, and that the JEDEC standards board rules don't clearly require disclosure of the patents. Source:
link [cnet.com] .

For what it's worth though, Rambus seems to be having difficulties enforcing its patents. Apparently, it destroyed key documents related to them.
Source:
link [theregister.co.uk] .

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

jours (663228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971699)

> I think the lesson propagated here is that you should sneak your patents into standards
> you are supposedly helping with, as no harm will come to you from your misdeed.

No, I don't think so. The lesson to be learned here is that standards organizations should require full disclosure of relevant patents by all their members, and require them to forfeit future royalties if anything was omitted.

Perhaps Rambus took advantage of the situation and should've acted in a more ethical manner. But the court hasn't released the hounds and doomed all future standards.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968725)

>>>RAMBUS became instantly evil in the eyes of many with the news of their misdeed.

I'm sorry but I don't see how RAMBUS did anything wrong. They developed a technology and collected royalties on it. That's no different than what HD Radio does when they collect royalties on every HDR digital radio sold, or when the DVD Consortium collects royalties on every disc sold, or when Sony/Philips collects royalties on every CD sold, or when JVC collects royalties on every VHS sold, or .....

What is wrong with companies collecting royalties on the products that invented?

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968809)

The difference is nobody actually knew they were going to owe Rambus a ton of royalties. Their IP was essentially "hidden in plain sight", and they waited until it had achieved critical mass before litigating the hell out of everyone to collect.

It's kind of like the W3C coming out of the clockwork and saying "Hey! I invented the internet! Remember all those RFCs ? Mine. CSS ? Mine. Now give me all your money before I smack you with this patent portfolio."

It's kind of like being retroactively billed for all the times you've slept with your ex-wife. IRL we call that divorce, but in business it's called fraud.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969031)

It's kind of like being retroactively billed for all the times you've slept with your ex-wife. IRL we call that divorce, but in business it's called fraud.

Well, not like it's easy, but the trick is to find a wife who makes more money than you do. Then, you sue her. Hey, it works on celebrities. Unfortunately, Madonna doesn't return my letters :(

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971361)

But what if she never wants to have sex with you like 20 times in 4 years your not going to make much money.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969357)

As I was finishing up the second paragraph, I was applauding your cutting argument. Then, of course, you had to end it by sounding like a complete dick.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969753)

IRL we call that divorce, but in business it's called fraud.

We don't use IRL. We use AFK. :)

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968819)

What is wrong with companies collecting royalties on the products that invented?

They participated in a consortium whose purpose was to create open standards so everyone on earth could benefit from commodity pricing, and they filed patent protection on processes secretly while leading the members of the consortium to believe that they were operating in good faith.

They didn't create new technology and ask people if they thought it was fair at this price. They held an industry hostage with lies and deceit. They're garden variety con-artists who belong hanging by their necks from a tree at a crossroads.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968985)

They're garden variety con-artists who belong hanging by their necks from a tree at a crossroads.

Why don't you get off the fence and tell us what you really think?

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969777)

They're garden variety con-artists who belong hanging by their necks from a tree at a crossroads.

You know, I'm starting to think we need some more of that. I can't think of a great reason why Madoff, Stamford, and the Enron crew aren't dangling. I mean, can you really imagine a jury convicting a retiree who lost their life's savings to one of those cretins?

Vigilante justice is a poor substitute for the real thing, but as the State has shown itself unwilling to mete out the legal kind, I won't be surprised when the citizenry steps forward.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970091)

I have the tar. Did you bring the feathers? Good. Let's roll.

Aside-

Ever wonder where common citizens got the tar for their "tar and feathering"? Simple. Tar, which is basically "sticky oil", used to occur naturally. There were lakes of oil/tar just laying-around in random locations, because nobody had a good use for it. Then the industrial revolution happened in the late 1800s, and we burned all the oil/tar in our factories and cars. No more black-colored lakes.

This is why I find it funny when they say "dumping oil is bad". In a natural environment, without humans, oil and tar bubbles out of the ground constantly. Oil is part of the environment. It's as natural as manure.

Not 17 Gt/year common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971159)

That's how much EACH YEAR we burn.

How big were the tar lakes and how often were they on fire?

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971191)

It's as natural as manure.

That's an interesting choice of analogy. You may have noticed that over the last couple centuries, we've attempted - with varying degrees of success - to stop leaving shit lying around everywhere, too.

One sec....

Ah yes. In the words of the immortal (really) Hob Gadling, re Renfaires:

"The problem is, there's no shit... people shit, animal shit. You ought to spray everyone with shit as they walk in."

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969869)

>>>they filed patent protection on processes secretly while leading the members of the consortium to believe that they were operating in good faith.

So they acted like my es-girlfriend, but did Not break the law, hence why the Supreme Court found no fault.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970551)

Sorta like Microsoft but not as systematic.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968825)

I don't know for sure, but from what I gather, RAMBUS patented technology that 1) they agreed not to patent, and 2) that was often developed by other companies.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968893)

The problem is that they hid the fact that they had a patent on a part of a specification that they were a committee member in creating. While they had their own specification.

First of all, conflict of interest, though everyone knew RDRAM was dead in computers, because it was frigging expensive. *
Second of all, they tried to use said patent to mess with the common standard, by driving prices up to the same level.

A patent is by definition a monopoly, and thus it's even more clear cut, IMO than the Microsoft anti-trust case.

*They can probably be forgiven, most standards have had pre-standards developed by the companies, numerous engineering standards, experiments, tests, etc. Prior to this, it would be assumed that you weren't some bunch of assholes like that. Even Microsoft didn't do it then. They just ignored standards, or implemented what they wanted which is different (And frankly more honest.)

The fact that this shit wasn't squashed, has probably inspired other companies to be patent trolls.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

hittman007 (206669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968785)

...following the economic crash, people are seeking to get back to "business as usual" failing to appreciate that "business as usual" is what caused the crash...

This part of his post is in dispute.

It seems that those that tend towards the left believe this, while those that tend right claim the big issue is over regulation and control by our government.

Either way it isn't really relevant here.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969965)

It's called a bubble. Things were valued at a rate that was not accurate (i.e. houses and mortgage stocks were priced double their real worth), and now the rate is being corrected to its true value. Same thing that happened in the 2000 bubble. And the 1991 bubble. And the 1929 bubble.

Who is to blame? Whoever rewrote the regulations which allowed banks to leverage 10,000 times their actual dollar holdings, which created the initial bubble of artificially-inflated prices. Dems? Reps? I'm inclined to say both are guilty.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971519)

...Same thing that happened in the 2000 bubble. And the 1991 bubble. And the 1929 bubble...

I think you missed a few in there.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968883)

Interestingly, the great depression spawned all kinds of lessons and wisdom that carried for generations... it wasn't really until most of the great depression survivors died that this crash occurred.

You have a contradiction here, the lessons weren't carried for generations if they were lost when the survivors died.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969167)

Hardly. A "generation" is more than a single person's entire lifespan. A generation is the time between birth and the birth of a child of the first generation. Anywhere from three to five generations occur in a lifetime.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (2, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968885)

actually, the memory manufacturers priced rdram chips so high (and ddr ram so low they made losses with it) as a revenge for rambus lawsuits and to drive rambus out of market.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969187)

Not that anyone in this day and age learns from mistakes any longer -- following the economic crash, people are seeking to get back to "business as usual" failing to appreciate that "business as usual" is what caused the crash.

The economic crash occurred because the government forced lenders to make bad loans to people that couldn't afford them by creating a secondary market for the notes which overvalued the assets so people like Franklin Raines could get their full bonuses. It has nothing to do with "business as usual", especially at technology companies.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969303)

Nobody 'forced' the lenders to make bad loans, they only needed the least little bit of encouragement to do so. It was not coersion, it may well have been entrapment though.

Don't get me wrong, the greedy bastards should have acted more professionally, (and certainly should have received bailout money for their supid business practices) but there is a case to be made for entrapment as a defense for criminal negligence.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (3, Informative)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971793)

the government forced lenders to make bad loans

Yeah, unrestrained greed and lack of accountability had nothing to do with it. Banks like PNC, who avoided the feeding frenzy and were laughed at by their peers for not cashing in on the FotM, were substantially penalized by- no, wait, they've actually come out stronger and gobbled up some of their gambling competition....

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned - You guys are clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969639)

There is a lot of allegations that Rambus did something wrong, but every court so far has said that there is no proof that Rambus actually did anything wrong.

The appellate court chastised the FTC for an aggressive use of rather weak evidence that Rambus had done something wrong. What was that evidence? The verbal testimony of interested parties (ie Micron, Hynix witnesses etc) that said there was a non-written expectation that competitors would disclose future plans and intentions for technologies that JEDEC wasn't working on yet, even when a company was no longer a member. The FTC's Chief ALJ said that written evidence showed that those witnesses were lying, but the full commission threw out the entire 330 page ruling by the ALJ and said "none of that matters, you have to believe the witnesses".

All of this supposed non-disclosure rests on the JEDEC members supposedly not knowing that Rambus had IP, or expectations that they would protect their IP. Yet in every trial, we have found that more and more (Mitsubishi and Hynix to name two) companies analyzed Rambus' patents, and knew that Rambus could, and probably would file additional claims to their patents to cover SDRAM.

DDR development didn't start until AFTER Rambus left JEDEC, and AFTER Rambus told JEDEC that they would defend their patent rights. Even then, JEDEC never contacted Rambus to negotiate a license, but continued to take more and more Rambus IP for DDR, DDR2, DDR3 etc.

Keep your eyes on the Anti-trust case against the manufactureres, where you will soon learn that the disinformation campaign against Rambus was largely fueled and paid for by those same manufacturers that claim they knew nothing about Rambus and Rambus IP.
   

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26970577)

actually I have a gig of rambus in an old computer used as a server.

Re:A Hard Lesson Learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971857)

(Interestingly, the great depression spawned all kinds of lessons and wisdom that carried for generations... it wasn't really until most of the great depression survivors died that this crash occurred.)

Generations... I do not think that word means what you think it means.

An Underhanded Move by Rambus. (5, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968593)

I was really hoping Rambus would lose this case. This decision is a loss to everyone because it means that companies can now secretly get patented items into standards, which will really hinder the standards making process (which by the way, is a great benefit to the consumer). I hope everyone just refuses to do business with Rambus and let it go bankrupt.

Re:An Underhanded Move by Rambus. (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968719)

This problem is easily solved, although I agree it is unfortunate. All you have to do is require at the time of membership that those who join a standards group agree to waive any and all rights to any patents which cover the standard. This will reduce membership, which is a good thing, because those who would no longer be interested obviously want to control the process for their own ends anyway.

Re:An Underhanded Move by Rambus. (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968749)

Not really. In the future standards committees will simply require companies to sign a "full disclosure" contract, so that if a technology is owned by one of the companies (say Sony), then it will be revealed to all the participants. And if Sony does not reveal that fact, the company can be sued for breach-of-contract.

Re:An Underhanded Move by Rambus. (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968941)

no, it means that standards groups should have better rules

Re:An Underhanded Move by Rambus. (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969361)

This is by no means is the final ruling on these matters. If other companies try the same thing, they can be brought to court as Rambus was. The appeals court and the Supreme Court's decision to decline to hear the case in no way set precedent.

Re:An Underhanded Move by Rambus. (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970619)

I hope everyone just refuses to do business with Rambus and let it go bankrupt.

In a way, the problem is self-solving in that regard. Rambus is no longer a member of JEDEC [jedec.org] , and you can bet that anyone associated with JEDEC (which includes the memory manufacturers) is probably going to consider Rambus a perpetual "second choice" for RAM tech. In the end, they need to sell their product to survive beyond the patent expiration of the stuff they slipped into SDRAM on the sly, and making a name for yourself as a "bad faith" company is a bad way to do that.

Here Comes Rambus Again (-1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968653)

I had to look up Rambus [wikipedia.org] , as I had thought they had fallen off the face of the earth. It would seem that now their main business strategy lies in suing other companies [wikipedia.org] .

Can be dealt with (1, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968667)

Surely there are methods of dealing with this. One way would be to have all companies contributing, officially commenting on, or doing anything that could affect a standards decision sign a waiver of all patent rights applying to the standard.

Open standards should be immune from patents, if anyone believes that their patent will be infringed they should bring it up during the standards process.

Re:Can be dealt with (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970829)

We call that the v3 GPL :)

Except for GNU's philosophical rhetoric, the GPL is the perfect license to use in general. Anyone wanting to contribute to a GPL project has to give up

On other notes...wouldn't waiting for the market to get critical before surfacing with a submarine patent be considered "laches"? Why are the courts letting them get away with being lazy poachers?

If rambus really wanted to enforce its patent rights they'd have brought up their patents right then and there.

I mean, come on, there's gotta be some sort of estoppel or whatever that says rambus slept on its rights by waiting for ripeness.

Ever since John Roberts joined (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968679)

Ever since John Roberts joined the USSC the rulings have gotten stranger and stranger. So much for him bringing sanity to the Supremes. Its almost like he is so far right-centric conservative he cannot see the forest through the trees.

I see why the FTC lost (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968731)

The FTC argued in court papers filed in Washington that Rambus âoewaited to assert its patent interests until the new standards had been widely implemented.â The agency said Rambus then âoedemanded stiff royalties from makers of the great majority of computer memory chips.â

I thought this case was about Rambus filing patents for ideas that were brought up during the committee planning of the memory standard. That would mean that their patents are invalid, and that they essentially stole them. But that doesn't seem like what the FTC based their case on. The article makes it look like all Rambus did was wait to assert their patents, which is jerkass but perfectly legal.

Am I confusing this with another case?

Re:I see why the FTC lost (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969821)

They pushed to create a standard based on ideas that they already had patents on, without disclosing it.

Basically, if everyone else on the committee had known that the ideas were already patented, they would never have created a standard based on them.

Re:I see why the FTC lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971811)

And no one checked it out? Sounds a bit ridiculous to me. Anytime you work on something you always check patents and licensing issues to make sure things are not problematic in the future. To me this seems like Rambus did something underhanded but the rest of JEDEC was pretty stupid for not doing due diligence with this.

How the Court Works (5, Informative)

north.coaster (136450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968773)

The FTC had found that Rambus undermined competition by getting secretly patented technology included in industry standards, but the Supremes evidently didn't agree.

Actually, the Court's decision not to hear the case only implies that a majority of the judges did believed that there was a compelling reason to hear the case. Quoting from here [wikipedia.org] :

The Court grants a petition for certiorari only for "compelling reasons," spelled out in the court's Rule 10. Such reasons include, without limitation:

  • to resolve a conflict in the interpretation of a federal law or a provision of the federal constitution
  • to correct an egregious departure from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings
  • to resolve an important question of federal law, or to expressly review a decision of a lower court that conflicts directly with a previous decision of the Court.

Which of these reasons would have justified the Court to hear this case?

Re:How the Court Works (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969213)

to resolve an important question of federal law, or to expressly review a decision of a lower court that conflicts directly with a previous decision of the Court.

Which of these reasons would have justified the Court to hear this case?

That one. Courts have generally looked down on Fraud. Except this time, apparently.

Re:How the Court Works (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969239)

"Without limitation". It may also be the case that this is an important question of federal law not previously ruled upon by the USSC.

BTW, FWIW, although the Wikipedia article doesn't obviously link to a source for this section the actual text [cornell.edu] is available elsewhere.

Re:How the Court Works (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969415)

"to correct an egregious departure from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings"

That one. The Appellate Court ruling was wrong on its face. Too bad the Supremes didn't see it that way. :(

Re:How the Court Works (3, Informative)

kscguru (551278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970817)

None of the courts (except the first) made any ruling whatsoever about whether Rambus' actions were illegal, despite most of the comments on this thread claiming the courts said that. And though I can't find the court opinions, I would be surprised if the Appellate Court challenged that at all. See, a case like this requires (A) proving that Rambus did a nasty thing, and (B) proving that the nasty thing is against the law. Part (A) belongs in the original court and is extremely hard to appeal; part (B) gets appealed everywhere. The Appellate Court found that the FTC didn't prove part (B), and the Supreme court agreed.

Believe it or not, the court system is pretty good at throwing out crappy lawsuits. The courts cannot just declare a company assholes, they can only rule upon the proof of assholeness brought before them. The FTC screwed up the case.

I love patents (0, Flamebait)

flyingrobots (704155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968787)

I've seen a couple of posts that bemoan that RAMBUS has won this suit. Have you seen their memory technologies? I've done DDR and DDR2 memory implementations and their technology is far superior to any 'standard'.
I'm all for helping folks understand how to implement technology. But I wonder sometimes if standardization doesn't actually rob innovation as it seems to require that innovators give up that which is of value to them. There is no incentive in that. Proprietary technology can be far superior to non-proprietary work. I agree that it isn't always true, but for the most part, it is.
You can't make a buck giving stuff away. I'm really don't like the open source model. It waters down our field and sets expectations such that business types don't appreciate the hard work it takes to make good software, they begin to expect software work to be free.
As far as I'm concerned...Go RAMBUS!
*ducks* :)
Kevin

RAMBUS should have lost this. (2, Insightful)

Benanov (583592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968993)

You can make a buck giving stuff away easily, Kevin. The trick is that the things you give away are complimentary to the things you make money on. Simple economics.

Take, for example, the Elphel cameras. All the software that runs on their cameras is under the GPL. They make money off the hardware--and they also make money off the fact that they don't really restrict their customers. You can pretty much do what you want with their cameras in terms of customizing it to your use--as long as you play by the terms of the GPL.

Standardization isn't good for innovators, perhaps. But the lack of it is very very bad for everyone else.

Most of the time, you're going to be everyone else.

Re:RAMBUS should have lost this. (1)

flyingrobots (704155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970823)

They don't give the cameras away, they sell them. And I'm sure they may have some unique innovation that they have tried or will protect.

Yes, simple economics.

It's unfortunate that folks have given their time away for some else to benefit, you've made my point. Some software sucker worked his butt off in order for Elphel to save a bunch of time and to make money that the software developer(s) never saw.

That was smart.

Don't you get it? These business people love you for giving your best efforts for nothing. You are only hurting your ability to make a buck down the road, you are destroying value in software. How can this be good?

Kevin

Re:RAMBUS should have lost this. (1)

flyingrobots (704155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970941)

>Standardization isn't good for innovators, perhaps. But the lack of it is very very bad for everyone else.

Is it bad to serve someone who worked hard to create something useful? The innovator served by creating and innovating, and now the public has to serve the innovator if they want to use what the innovator created.

Don't you believe that we should serve one another? I can't think of a better way than putting cash in someone's pocket who was really clever and really benefited my life.

Kevin

Re:I love patents (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971137)

Standardization is a trade-off where you give up some unique features you offer in order to grow the market as a whole and sell more of the basic unit than you could sell of the unique unit (which you can still sell anyway). It has nothing to do with open source software. It's a spreadsheet-driven decision by executives. You can also compete on your implementation of the standard, or the price (Mushkin vs. OCZ). I really don't understand what you're complaining about here. Standardization in the computer industry did lots to make computers more ubiquitous and allow everyone to sell more.

The only reason Rambus will win (3, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969007)

Is that it will force asian companies to pay money to an american company.

So the Supreme Court might have just a little bias there...

Docket numbers (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969227)

Interesting... this prompted me to go look for the In Re: Bilski appeal to the supreme court.

This Rambus decision has docket number 08-694, and Bilski has docket number 08-964. (Both about important patent issues affecting the computer industry).
What are the odds of me making a typo and finding another important patent case.

iPhone + RAMBUS = RAMHOLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969593)

iPhone + RAMBUS = RAMHOLE

too lazy to login (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969669)

but you guys are way off base. Rambus was duped by the MMs (cartel)into JEDEC, then never allow to present. Through earlier NDA, all of the MMs were able to "learn" of Rambus's IP and cherry-pick it for DDR(x), etc.

Rambus had no choice but to sue, the MMs had stolen IP from RDRAM & utilized it. The intent of their price-fix (clearly documented & DOJ approved) was to kill the source of the IP.

This is America. You don't have to have a tangible production facility to validate your business or your product.

Objective Bystander

Re:too lazy to login (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969947)

Don't forget that the SDRAM manufacturers Hynix, Samsung, Infineon, and Elpida were convicted of price-fixing. Their objective was to keep DDR RAM prices down so that RDRAM would fail on the market. It's not like Rambus is the only guilty party here.

Old (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970497)

Isn't Rambus old technology, that only lived for a short time on a few architectures, while everyone uses DDR memory today and even while rambus existed? If so, why even bother.

Re:Old (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971867)

Psssssst
Guess who basically invented DDR, DDR2, DDR3, etc.

Secretly patented? (1)

Keith_Beef (166050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971085)

The declared purpose of patents is to put designs in public view, with the reward being legal protection for the patent holder to make the device or license it to others for a certain time.

If Rambus or any other corporation or person applies for a patent on a device, this is no longer "secret"

K.

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