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JEDEC Fiddles With DDR4 While LRDIMM Burns

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the patents-are-complicated dept.

Patents 67

An anonymous reader writes "JEDEC hasn't finalized the upcoming DDR4 standard yet, but it seems they left out licensing some crucial IP for (the already finalized and shipping) LRDIMMs (for use on data center servers). As a result they are only produced by one source which is facing some hurdles justifying their copying of IP. This article discusses how DDR4 is based on LRDIMMs and the future of memory. Quoting: 'JEDEC finalized the LRDIMM standard without securing licensing on load reduction and rank multiplication. Inphi, currently the only maker of LRDIMM buffer chipsets – others have backed off – lost a challenge of Netlist IP at the USPTO. As a result the Netlist patents have become stronger and are going to come back and bite Inphi in Netlist vs. Inphi, which was stayed pending these patent reexaminations – patents which survive re-examination can never again be challenged in court. NLST patents ’537 and ’274 survived with all claims intact, which is a powerful statement on the strength of their IP – Inphi has appealed to the BPAI, but the USPTO decision is telling.'"

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67 comments

True Programmers, unite! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270281)

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I sure am glad we have patents... (5, Funny)

Rix (54095) | about 2 years ago | (#40270303)

To promote the progress of science and useful arts. Imagine where we'd be without them!

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270401)

Perhaps we wouldn't have LRDIMM memory either since no one bothered to invent some of the technology that has apparently made it possible.

We probably wouldn't have many new start-ups either as the incumbent players would just continue to rip off everything they invent. The only way you could possibly make something is if the design or manufacture could be kept secret, leading to the possibility of lost knowledge should the few who know how something is made fail to pass that information on to others.

The patent system is certainly not ideal in its current implementation, but that's not an excuse to scrap thing entirely.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (3, Funny)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about 2 years ago | (#40270447)

The patent system is certainly not ideal in its current implementation, but that's not an excuse to scrap thing entirely.

I suppose you didn't want to infringe on the patent on using articles in conjunction with nouns?

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272225)

The patent system is certainly not ideal in its current implementation, but that's not an excuse to scrap thing entirely.

I suppose you didn't want to infringe on the patent on using articles in conjunction with nouns?

Failed at that: GP used the article "The" with the noun "system", and the article "an" with the noun "excuse." Also, props to GP for correctly using "its" instead of "it's".

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272439)

No, he was correct: the now GGP needed to avoid infringement.

GGP only licensed a limited use of the articles/nouns patent and using an additional article would have triggered a clause that revoked his license entirely. Naturally, this would have made the entire post an egregious infringement.

In conclusion, thank god for intellectual property! Without it, there would be chaos: people innovating without paying incumbent patent trolls? Heaven protect us!

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40270473)

You must be kidding. Startups don't get patents that support them. They either get themselves a patent they can't afford to defend (and so it does nothing but cost) or they get squashed like a bug by a big incumbent with a huge portfolio.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270517)

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Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (1)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about 2 years ago | (#40270687)

What sort of pathetic attempt at trolling is that? At least include a goatse link and some sort of GNAA reference the next time!

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270873)

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Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40271351)

I used gamemaker and it made my penis grow to a larger size. The only drawback is the extra cost of magnum condoms.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (2)

St.Creed (853824) | about 2 years ago | (#40270707)

Startups without patents don't get investors. If they have patents the investors will look at them and if they like what they see, invest their money AND help defend those patents. If you don't have patents, you don't have a chance at venture capital unless you aren't building new IP but instead do services or build existing product under license or do something else that doesn't require you to defend your IP from people who could easily reverse engineer and copy it.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40271131)

That certainly has been true, but was simply a matter of the investors over-valuing the patent. Investors saw it more as a signifier that they had an actual idea and were organized than anything else. These days, patents are losing importance to investors as they realize that they don't even say anything about inventiveness. In any event, that had little to do with the actual utility of the patent. They would be better off if there was no such thing.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40273591)

Then, you honestly don't need the VC IP. Seriously. Patents are only worth what you've got in the kitty to litigate them. If that's all an idiot VC cares about is whether you've got patents or not...then you don't need their money because they're stupid and will cause you grief down the line elsewhere.

Netlist IS a small company (5, Insightful)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40270827)

Netlist was founded in 2000 and had revenues of $14 million last quarter.

They are not (as far as I can tell) a patent troll.. they design and manufacture memory subsystems.

JDEC made sure all of the big players IP was properly licensed, but left out Netlist's patent. How do we know the big players weren't just trying to screw them over?

http://www.netlist.com/about-netlist/history/ [netlist.com]
http://www.netlist.com/about-netlist/quality-and-manufacturing/ [netlist.com]
http://www.b2i.us/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?ResLibraryID=54253&GoTopage=1&Category=1629&BzID=1941 [b2i.us]

Re:Netlist IS a small company (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40271197)

Netlist is not a small startup. They're 12 years old, well past their IPO, have 200 employees and 60 million in revenue. Even with that going for it, you noted that their patents seem to have been ignored by the larger players as if they didn't exist.

Re:Netlist IS a small company (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40271469)

They may not be a startup, but 60 million in REVENUE is not a large company. They have a slight loss each quarter, and have $23 million in total equity.

They're competing against
Micron - 8.4 billion in revenue & 26,000 employees
Kingston - 6.5 billion in revenue & 4500 employees
Samsung - 250 billion in revenue & 344,000 employees

They ARE a small company in their industry.

Re:Netlist IS a small company (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40272619)

Since the topic I replied to was startups, Netlist isn't a relevant example.

Compared to a 747, an elephant is extremely lightweight and portable but I still won't take one on the bus with me.

Finally, I have seen no evedence that patents enabled Netlist to exist, nor even arguments as to why that is likely true.

Given that, I'm a little confused why you believe them to be at all relevant to the point I disagreed with above.

Re:Netlist IS a small company (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272627)

NLST is a small company now - but they underwent a restructuring to focus on high margin IP based products. They moved their manufacturing to China in preparation for that change. And are now set to produce in volume from there. R&D and company is U.S.

NLST is the inventor of VLP - very low profile memory for blade servers - and used to be a big shipper to IBM.

They have now resumed VLP to IBM for the current Intel Romley rollout.

Currently NLST valuation does not include HyperCloud/LRDIMM type sales - revenues are almost all non-HyperCloud based (flash, non-volatile memory - i.e. high margin speciality products).

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270555)

You, my dear anonymous coward, are full of it.

Scrapping the entire system today would be preferable to leaving the current system as is.
Incumbents don't have the agility to adapt to the new stuff.
Startups don't have the money to mount a patent attack (and by the time you win, you're probably dead already).

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272695)

Well in this case we have a patent owner who also makes the product and makes it better than the person who is infringing/copying.

IBM/HP both are offering NLST's i.e. the patent owner's product.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | about 2 years ago | (#40270599)

So you prefer that, instead of big players ripping everyone's work off, the big players would sue everyone smaller to oblivion, like they do today?

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40293827)

We probably wouldn't have many new start-ups either as the incumbent players would just continue to rip off everything they invent.

Which is different from today how? Today incumbent players thwart new start-ups by using the patents against them. In your example humanity at least gets to use innovation, even if it is marketed by the incumbent, while today an disruptive, revolutionary invention can be removed from deployment for the duration of patent protection. Now, I am aware that for a certain class of inventions, requiring huge investments, no profit-motivated investor would be willing to accept the risks if there weren't patents, but for small inventions and innovations were costs could be recuperated fast and being at the source of invention does mean great advantage in time to market, there is no excuse for patents. Besides, regarding inventions with high cost of R&D, ever since we had a civilization, governments and communities as whole were willing to support and finance endeavors which benefited whole population, like we still do today with scientific research.

Re:I sure am glad we have patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270403)

Preambles like that are usually considered "precatory language", or in the parlance of US constitutional interpretation a "political question", or alternatively they'll give the language the widest possible interpretation (e.g. the way Justice Marshall interpreted "necessary and proper" to mean anything that can be rationalized.) Either way, the point is that Anglo-American courts are reluctant to give binding, judicially enforceable legal effect to language which they believe cannot be clearly and consistently applied under different factual scenarios. The reason they do this is because Anglo-American courts (particularly American courts in the modern era) derive their authority independently from the parliament, and so in a sense theoretically have unbounded power, notwithstanding a pittance of procedural checks+balances rarely if ever exercised. They must self-limit their power through awkward interpretive devices I described.

The times when they don't do this, and the language is hard to apply, judicial interpretations vacillate significantly over the generations.

I sure am glad we have trolling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40271577)

To promote the progress of science and useful arts. Imagine where we'd be without them!

We'd be without this technology to argue over. What do you think would happen?

Alphabet soup (1, Troll)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#40270319)

Maybe they should consider new branding. Without any context the above article could be about any technology or company.

ABC hasn't finalized the upcoming DEF standard yet, but it seems they left out licensing some crucial IP for (the already finalized and shipping) ASDFGH

Re:Alphabet soup (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about 2 years ago | (#40270633)

JEDEC and DDR are pretty common.. I don't see your point.

Re:Alphabet soup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270693)

Time to seek out an optometrist since you can't see.

Re:Alphabet soup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270963)

Not knowing JEDEC maybe I can understand.. but DDR? You don't know what DDR is?

Analogy overstretch? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40270433)

JEDEC Fiddles With DDR4 While LRDIMM Burns

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt[1].

But I can't find any substitution that makes the shitty headline even resemble the [probably apocryphal] quote about the horse fucking wop-in-chief.

There's fail, there's epic fail and then there's faileroony.

[1] this is a lie. But the dice said I should, at least this time.

Wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270451)

"patents which survive re-examination can never again be challenged in court"

Wrong. A party that files an inter partes reexamination petition and that petition for inter partes reexamination is granted by the PTO (initiating an inter partes reexamination), may not "assert[] at a later time, in any civil action. . . the invalidity of any claim finally determined to be valid and patentable on any ground which the third-party requester raised or could have raised during the inter partes reexamination proceedings." 35 USC 315(c)

So, anyone other than Inphi (or its privies) may challenge the patents' validity in Court on any grounds, including the prior art that was before the PTO in the Inphi v. Netlist reexam. Moreover, Inphi could challenge the patents on "any ground which" Inphi did not "raise" and "could" not "have raised" in the inter partes reexamination. This would include, at a minimum, any ground for invalidity other than prior art in the form of other patents printed publications. 35 USC 301, 311(a). I.e., invalidity under 35 USC 101 ( patentable subject matter, utility), 112 (indefiniteness, written description, enablement) and 102(b) (public use, on sale).

Also, Netlist amended a bunch of claims, which typically raises major worries about validity for written description.

Re:Wrong (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#40271423)

So basically if they fuck up a reexam, everyone but them gets to defend themselves if they get sued.

Sounds like an incentive not to gamble on the reexam in the first place.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279489)

more than that though, even if you "fuck up a reexam" you can go back and take another crack at it in a different way (under different subsections) as seen here:

"any ground for invalidity other than prior art in the form of other patents printed publications. 35 USC 301, 311(a). I.e., invalidity under 35 USC 101 ( patentable subject matter, utility), 112 (indefiniteness, written description, enablement) and 102(b) (public use, on sale)."

the prior art defense is forever closed, but there are still ways to challenge.

Re:Wrong (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#40279615)

My point is that if you strike out with the USPTO, you lose affirmative defenses if you are sued later by the owner of the patent you went after.

Paradoxically this means that if there IS prior art, you are a big fat sitting duck and can get sued to oblivion, but someone else can use the same prior art to defend themselves.

This gives patent holders incentive to selectively retaliate only against people who request reexams, and also gives people incentive not to challenge them in the first place.

reexams and continuation patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272653)

There is a link in that article to the USPTO docs - "Examining patent docs at USPTO".

You can check out which claims of the patents survived (nearly all the claims in the two patents combined - and it included lots of new claims as well - which is an added benefit of patent reexam for the patent owner as they get to add claims if they want as well).

In addition, the USPTO has been awarding continuation patents for some of those patents.

NLST has a long history of patents in this area (being the inventor) - so it is surprising that Inphi chose to be so blatant in their disregard.

In any case whatever survives reexam becomes harder to challenge and you have to come up with more creative ways to justify a challenge.

"justifying their copying of IP" (2)

dvdkhlng (1803364) | about 2 years ago | (#40270493)

As a result they are only produced by one source which is facing some hurdles justifying their copying of IP.

I am the only one who's annoyed by the poster's complete lack of critical reflection on those "IP" claims? Are the IP lawyers and lobbyists now getting their anonymous postings on slashdot, too? I'm close to deleting my /. account.

BTW I'm also annoyed by the fact that people got so used to the somewhat nonsensical oxymoron "Intelectual Property" [gnu.org].

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40271727)

Please don't quote RMS. if you have a quote from Torvalds or Perens or frankly anybody else then great, but RMS tried to claim "if you can't update its a circuit [fsf.org]" so the man's logic isn't even consistent with itself anymore. hell if you go by that then the PS2 is FOSS friendly since you can't update it so its a circuit and if you disabled updates for the PS3 and X360 then they'd be circuits as well. The man honestly doesn't even make sense [gnu.org] with his own logic anymore (you can see and modify JavaScript but its bad if its not GNU, but locking down a chip so it can't be updated and you can't see the code is GNU-friendly) so please don't use him to bolster an argument, as he gets older he just contradicts himself. At least Torvalds has been consistent in his views over the years.

As for TFA...what is the odds we are gonna end up with another Rambus mess all over again? Because i really don't want to go through that, the prices went all over the place and it seemed to take forever to get it all straightened out. hell this company only has 60 million in revenue a year so why don't Micron or a couple of the big boys just get together and buy the damned thing and make their patents RAND. As we saw with Rambus it would probably cheaper in the long run just to buy 'em and RAND it than it would be to pay lawyers for years worth of court dragging, if this tech is really that important frankly the big four memory makers could buy this corp with what they make in profits in the average month with plenty of change left over.

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

dvdkhlng (1803364) | about 2 years ago | (#40271833)

Please don't quote RMS. if you have a quote from Torvalds or Perens or frankly anybody else then great, but RMS tried to claim [..]

I won't consider myself a RMS fan or a free software zealot, just by knowing some of RMS' opinions and quoting them when I think they provide a valid point on some issue. On the other hand, you seem to be a complete anti-RMS zealot. "Please don't quote RMS"? Just because some of his stuff is too extreme for your taste?

You think Torvalds is any better? Hey, I have a quote for you (source [kerneltrap.org])

We will hereby start scouring the net for people who say git is hard to understand and use, and just kill them. They clearly are just polluting the gene pool.

If I were you, I'd rather ask people to not quote Torvalds than to not quote RMS.

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40278533)

Uhhh...its pretty obvious it was just Torvalds being a frustrated programmer and joking about a piece of software that was being a giant PITA, which we've ALL been there. Try working with some of the DRM heavy niche software like Solidworks or Rosetta Stone and see how quick you want to hunt down those DRM designers and just smack the shit out of them with a large carp, just ignorant shit.

Now compare that to the two links I just gave, RMS' big claim to fame is the GPL and yet the man isn't even consistent on the ONE THING that above all else he SHOULD be consistent on. I mean locking something down makes it "freer" than if you can update it? WTF? that sounds like the RIAA more than it does the FSF but it boils down to his own dogma simply doesn't work so he has to cook up hoops to jump through that defy logic so that he can jam that dogma into situations where it wouldn't otherwise go. I mean look at those two links, Its BETTER if you DO lock it down but WORSE if you can see and manipulate the code UNLESS that code is GNU....okay, how in the FUCK does that make ANY sense? At all? Its like Mad hatter logic!

Hey if you want to quote a guy that can't even keep his logic consistent on the one thing he's famous for, a guy that I might add did some seriously repulsive shit on fricking stage [youtube.com] like some crazy old homeless guy? hey knock yourself out pal, I'm just pointing out the man contradicts himself on his own beliefs.

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

dvdkhlng (1803364) | about 2 years ago | (#40281325)

Uhhh...its pretty obvious it was just Torvalds being a frustrated programmer and joking about a piece of software that was being a giant PITA, which we've ALL been there.

He was "joking" (?) about *his* piece of software, Git, quite clearly claiming that people complaining about it are just idiots. Using a pretty offensive language (even if just joking), on a public mailing list. If Linus was a little bit more open-minded or tolerant or spending one second of his time thinking about the users of his software (let's better call them victims), I think he might at least acknowledge that the problem might with Git's lack of consistency, lack of documentation and general complexity (when compared to alternate DVCS). There are more Linus-quotes that reflect a (IMO) questionable attitude towards his users, enough that I take everything he boasts about with a grain of salt. But we're getting off-topic.

I mean locking something down makes it "freer" than if you can update it? WTF? that sounds like the RIAA more than it does the FSF but it boils down to his own dogma simply doesn't work so he has to cook up hoops to jump through that defy logic so that he can jam that dogma into situations where it wouldn't otherwise go. I mean look at those two links, Its BETTER if you DO lock it down but WORSE if you can see and manipulate the code UNLESS that code is GNU....okay, how in the FUCK does that make ANY sense? At all? Its like Mad hatter logic!

Yeah, now I get the point you were referring to. It might seem inconsisten, but maybe you didn't think his reasoning to the end: If a WLAN-chip required a closed firmware to operate, than the Linux kernel has to be shipped with a copy of the (binary and non-modifyable!) firmware embedded. Now suddenly your operating system isn't free any more, as it's bound not only by the Linux license, but also by the license of the firmware. What when it stated that export to Cuba was forbidden? Or specific uses were excluded? You generally don't want to teint your GPLed operating system with non-GPLed bits and pieces protected by copyright. Putting the questionable firmware in an on-board ROM at leasts frees people that deal with the Linux-OS images from having to care about the copyrights of the non-free firmware (the board's manufacturer will still have to deal with it, though).

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40286501)

Sigh...he is NOT talking about putting it into ROM, that is impossible with that chip. What he is talking about is putting a software "lock" on the chip so you can NOT UPDATE and that somehow magically makes it a "circuit" which just shows how cult like the man is, how he can just manipulate language to his own ends.

Its like how his FSF sues people for violating the GPL but he says stealing copyrighted code is fine and dandy, even labels it "sharing with a neighbor"...WTF? Ya can't have your cake and eat it to ya nutter, either infringement is GOOD, or it is BAD, it is NOT possible to make it ONLY good when you do it to the other guy. If you want the link here [gnu.org] you go, and I think the hypocrisy is pretty damned self evident. Its okay to steal the OTHER guy's stuff without their permission, but if you steal HIS stuff without permission, aka following his rules? prepared to be sued.

Look, I'm not asking for much here, as one movie reviewer put it "Just be consistent in your bullshit" but RMS has been very much NOT consistent in his bullshit, its quite clear that according to him the rules are pretty much whatever he wants the rules to be to fit with his bullshit this week, like the circuit crap. The chip is STILL firmware, it STILL has to interact with the kernel, but if you can't update it it magically becomes 'freer"...yeah and my dick is 14 foot long and plays jungle bells when you rub it. Bullshit is bullshit is bullshit, and what RMS has been slinging lately, in fact for the last 6 or so years, hasn't even been consistent bullshit JUST bullshit.

Finally as for Torvalds? remember this is the same guy that posed at a Win 7 booth in Japan on release day with a snarky smile and a double thumbs up,that's just the kind of BS he likes to pull. That's why we need snark and sarcasm tags because its hard to tell when someone who is naturally a smart ass like Torvalds is being snarky and teasing or joking and when they are being serious. OTOH its quite clear that what RMS was writing was NOT being snarky and he was actually requesting the community to help achieve these aims which as I pointed out aren't even consistent in his rhetoric, it was just his way of magically cooking up a loophole to jump through so he could get what he wanted because his dogma didn't work. Well if your dogma don't work you crazy then CHANGE THE DAMNED DOGMA instead of cooking up insane logic hoops to jump through. as I said be consistent in your bullshit, which RMS hasn't been for awhile now.

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

dvdkhlng (1803364) | about 2 years ago | (#40291005)

Sigh...he is NOT talking about putting it into ROM, that is impossible with that chip. What he is talking about is putting a software "lock" on the chip so you can NOT UPDATE and that somehow magically makes it a "circuit" which just shows how cult like the man is, how he can just manipulate language to his own ends.

This is about putting dedicated hardware on board to load default firmware from a flash-ROM into the Marvell WLAN chip, so you d o not need to load the firmware after every boot. There is plenty of explanation on the project page [goldelico.com] , and quite clearly it writes

The task is to develop a prototype of a microcontroller that sends an immutable firmware program through an SDIO interface into a Marvell 8686 based WLAN chip independently from the main CPU.

But why bother reading about details when it is so much fun to just complain and whine and repeat your half understood rants on half understood topics, right?

Its like how his FSF sues people for violating the GPL but he says stealing copyrighted code is fine and dandy, even labels it "sharing with a neighbor"...WTF?

I won't even start to tell you how many mis-statements are contained in this sentence, let alone the whole paragraph I'm not bothering to quote. Luckily /. features a Foes list that will save me from ever attempting to argue on any matter with you again.

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40298503)

"All hail the one true god!" which is sadly EXACTLY what you sound like. you can't come up with an argument because the man's bullshit isn't consistent so you go "la la la M$ Ninja poopy head, la la la" which is why the community looks like nutters for associating WITH a nutter.

So be sure to stick your fingers in your ears tightly, make sure those dogma blinders are nice and secure, and I leave you with a final image of your hero [youtube.com] acting like a crazy homeless guy. just remember THAT is who you are defending, but hey, don't let logic get in the way of worshiping your deity.

Re:"justifying their copying of IP" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40293977)

Well, if none, including the manufacturer, can update it, and if it is deterministic black box with very well and described behavior, then yes, I concur it is equivalent of a circuit.

They still have not learned? (3, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#40270529)

After the RAMBUS-scum ran their scam by participating in JEDEC and then patenting the standard elements, I would expect JEDEC to have gotten smarter. Apparently not.

Re:They still have not learned? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270685)

Yes but this was a problem perpetuated by Intel.

LRDIMMS can be used in DDR3 systems NOW. And guess what, they're 10 times the price.

The company that makes the chipset is actually in the kind of situation Qualcomm is in, not RAMBUS. Where if they sue someone for copying their IP, they face being sued back, but they're certainly within their rights to enforce their IP. If they were to sue any of the RAM stick manufacturers (eg Kingston, G.Skill, Crucial, etc) they likely will not buy their product, and DDR3 will continue in the same way that DDR took off from regular SDRAM instead of Rambus.

Rambus snuck their IP into to JEDEC, and thus Intel designed, and subsequently had to throw away an entire line of Chipsets (i820) and their CPU's (All the Pentium 4 line up to Core Duo) and go back to the Pentium 3 and retool from there. So the people who will lose the most are Intel and AMD if JEDEC allows IP that can't be FRAND into the specification.

Re:They still have not learned? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 2 years ago | (#40271129)

They did not have to throw away P4 because of RDRAM, but they did have to throw away Timna.

Re:They still have not learned? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40273417)

They did not have to throw away P4 because of RDRAM, but they did have to throw away Timna.

Right, they had to throw away the P4 because they ran out of headroom, they couldn't make it go any faster without nitrogen cooling. Now the P4 is gone and we have faster clocks and lower power consumption.

Inphi is closer to Rambus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272605)

RMBS has similarities to MetaRAM.

MetaRAM founder Suresh Rajan was from RBMS - is now back at Rambus it seems.

MetaRAM CEO is a "Technical Advisor" to Inphi (the maker of LRDIMM buffer chipsets).

You connect the dots. It is Inphi which goes back to RMBS.

RMBS was guilty of using JEDEC activity to drive their patent portfolio (without telling JEDEC).

In contrast Netlist IP was probably leaked by Texas Instruments to JEDEC (at least that's what it seems from Netlist vs. Texas Instruments settlement some years ago). After that Intel revealed a design that looked like Netlist's - at which point Netlist complained and revealed that they held IP in this area (as all JEDEC members are required to do in the post-RMBS era if ideas conflicting a company's IP are revealed at JEDEC). And then Netlist left the JEDEC. Netlist thus is under no compulsion to offer IP on RAND terms to JEDEC (as JEDEC members are expected to do).

However it seems Netlist HAS offered this IP to JEDEC on RAND terms in the past. Whether they are willing to do so now or not I do not know.

Re:Inphi is closer to Rambus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272745)

Another difference - RMBS doesn't make any product.

This patent owner (NLST) makes a product and makes a better product - i.e. they have access to "know how" which only an inventor who has worked for 8 years on a product can have.

This was something Inphi lacked and thus goofed in their rollout of LRDIMMs in early 2012 for Romley.

self promotion - (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about 2 years ago | (#40270551)

The blog referenced is by the Yahoo Finance NLST stock group poster vicl2012v. He writes the blog, then uses references to it on the NLST Yahoo stock board to back up his points. Totally self referential.

http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_(A_to_Z)/Stocks_N/threadview?m=ts&bn=51443&tid=52454&mid=52454 [yahoo.com]

The Yahoo stock board is the usual UN-moderated open mess of spammers, and self interested parties both overplaying and hiding their interests.

As the post here is submitted by anonymous draw your own conclusions.

Re:self promotion - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272763)

So you are saying the info is factually incorrect ?

Re:self promotion - (2)

RichMan (8097) | about 2 years ago | (#40275817)

I submit that yahoo poster vicl2012v is the writer of the blog and submitter to Slashdot and likely the anon doing a lot of responses here.

Here is a post on yahoo asking for help in boosting the story through slashdot submission.
http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_(A_to_Z)/Stocks_N/threadview?m=te&bn=51443&tid=52505&mid=52505 [yahoo.com]

"Click on this slashdot submission if you want to vote it up so it appears on slashdot:"
This yahoo post is 21minutes (June 8/11:19pm) after the /. submission (June 8/10:58pm)
and Vicl is unfamiliar with /. so how in 21 minutes did he become aware of the post ?
"There is a rating slider on the middle-right as well. You can drag the sliders to the left - but it seems these are for rating the comments (?). "

As to the truthfulness of the post I make no comment.
But it looks like a Yahoo Stock board poster promoted his own blog entry to slashdot, a major score in small stock touting.

WTF Is this shit (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40270731)

I've read and re-read this article summary four times. I haven't the foggiest idea what the OP is actually trying to convey. Can someone who has had the days of time needed to research all the background post a readable summary?

Re:WTF Is this shit (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#40271699)

Next generation computer memory is going to be delayed and your next computer is going to be slow because one company is being a jerk with patents.

Re:WTF Is this shit (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40271973)

Layman speculation, don't take this as gospel. I think it's mostly accurate, though.

JEDEC is a big consortium of technology companies that designs RAM standards. SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4? Those were all designed and standardized by JEDEC.

As for LRDIMMs: all sorts of problems start to pop up when you start adding more than 8 or so sticks of RAM per processor. I'm not an electrical engineer, but the basic gist is "things do not work properly". There have been various schemes to combat this in the past: FB-DIMMs (fully buffered), R-DIMMs (registered), and probably some others I can't think of; they generally involve some sort of tradeoff to beat that whole more-than-8-sticks-of-RAM problem. LRDIMMs are the "next generation" of this. Useful for data centres and servers where you need a huge amount of memory in a small space.

Anyway, it appears that JEDEC finalized the LRDIMM standard, but failed to license a few very important patents. So it seems that this one company (Inphi) went ahead and started making chips for LRDIMMs, but didn't realize (or didn't care) that they were infringing on some other company (Netlist)'s patents. Netlist sued for infringement and won. This is a troublesome situation because it seems JEDEC has created a standard which requires third-party licensing. The reason that is bad is that Netlist could completely choke off the supply of chips for LRDIMMs if they decide to set their license fees too high. Or Netlist could try to gain a monopoly as the only producer of these chips. It's possible for Netlist to really screw with adoption of LRDIMMs.

And there's some mention that DDR4 (not yet finalized) may have similarities to the LRDIMM standard, which may have similar consequences, just for DDR4.

The article isn't that great. It seems to be more of a financial hot-tips kind of thing, as RichMan somewhat suggests elsewhere in these comments.

Re:WTF Is this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40273057)

Thank you for this readable summary !

Re:WTF Is this shit - good summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280165)

Good summary.

LRDIMMs have that legal problem, but they also are not as good.

Plus the patent owner makes product as well (unlike Rambus).

The stupid thing is they could have seen this coming from a mile away - as NLST has been in this area a long time.

Unless the patents are licensed under RAND (2)

overshoot (39700) | about 2 years ago | (#40271183)

... that's the end of the standards. They'll have to go back to JC-42 and JC-45 to be redone.

JEDEC has been down this road before and I'll be astonished if they make an exception in this case. And, yes, I know JC-42 and JC-45. I spent years on them.

Inphi stole and then couldn't deliver on that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272211)

I think what folks are forgetting here is - it is not a fight between a small company (NLST) against a big company (Intel, Samsung).

Or a small company squeezing Intel/Samsung.

The thing to remember is Inphi copied Netlist IP - then based a WHOLE IPO worth millions of dollars on the basis of a lie - that they owned the IP to load reduction and rank multiplication and that they had developed it at JEDEC.

IDTI (another LRDIMM maker who has since scaled down and postponed LRDIMMs) did not subscribe to that - and used to scoff at Inphi's claims.

Add to that the co-founder and CFO and CEO of Inphi have left the company - possibly with benefit of IPO in pocket.

So it is a case of lying, misappropriation etc.

Intel, Samsung and JEDEC come into the picture in a secondary way.

But the impact of their willingness to go along with a liar - is coming back to discount LRDIMMs as a viable product.

Oddly enough it was not the patent wins by NLST which broke the story (for industry folks) - it was that after having copied the IP, Inphi COULD NOT DELIVER.

The LRDIMMs that were delivered for Romley in early 2012 had problems - and it became clear they were not going to deliver what they had promised.

As a result the Netlist (original inventor) product works better than LRDIMMs - and DDR4 is copying LRDIMM - but going further and copying the way Netlist is doing it.

As a result IBM/HP had the foresight to include not just LRDIMMs but also Netlist HyperCloud at Intel Romley server launch.

IBM offers it as IBM HCDIMM.

HP offers it as HP HDIMM (or HP Smart Memory HyperCloud).

It is not such a complicated story folks.

Re:Inphi stole and then couldn't deliver on that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40272251)

As a result - LRDIMMs are going to face uncertainty.

But that is not such a bad thing - since LRDIMMs are inferior technologically as well (high latency and complicated BIOS modifications required on the motherboard - i.e. a complicated mess of a job compared to the product they are trying to copy).

So for end-users it may not matter anyway - since they may just buy the IBM HCDIMMs/HP HDIMMs anyway.

What it does is it harms the credibility of JEDEC - as now people cannot be sure that they have done all the background checking - after all what is the JEDEC for if they can't do this correctly (and are instead biased one way or other to keep quiet about an IP issue just because one of the players has an investment in Inphi).

Can anyone confirm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40276451)

Can anyone add to this. Why has this not been reported before ?

"JEDEC Fiddles With DDR4 While LRDIMM Burns" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279739)

What an inflammatory headline. I'd definitely mod that flame-bait.

Re:"JEDEC Fiddles With DDR4 While LRDIMM Burns" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40280583)

But it accurately reflects what JEDEC are doing.

Asleep at the wheel or worse incompetent.
How didn't they see this coming.

Netlist informed JEDEC of the conflict much earlier.
So why did JEDEC continue as if nothing happened ?

Wilful ignorance.

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