Nvdia and Rambus sign patent-license agreement

Intellectual property firm Rambus and graphics chip maker Nvidia have signed a patent-license agreement related to memory controllers.

Rambus has created a number of high-speed memory and communications technology for chips and licensed them widely throughout the industry. Quite often, this has led to litigation with chip makers who don’t want to pay royalties. Nvidia was among those, and the two parties remain locked in litigation.

That litigation is still in place. But under this agreement, Rambus has given Nvidia a license for memory controllers at a 1 percent royalty rate for SDR memory controllers and a 2 percent royalty rate for other memory controllers, including DDR, DDR2, LPDDR, LPDDR2, GDDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, and portions of GDDR5. That pretty much gives Nvidia design freedom to use those technologies in the memory subsystems in boards that house Nvidia’s graphics chips.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia has not licensed any patents to Mountain View, Calif.-based Rambus. The license terms that Rambus offered are consistent with its promise to the European Commission. Back in January, Rambus won an International Trade Commission ruling which declared that Nvidia violated three of Rambus’ patents related to memory chips, which connect to Nvidia’s graphics chips. Rambus filed suit in 2008. Rambus has scored other legal victories, including a $900 million settlement with Samsung.

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