Rambus Dodges an Antitrust Bullet from the FTC

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In a case closely-watched by the high technology community, this week the D.C. Circuit Court set aside the FTC?s landmark order against Rambus Incorporated, which had sought to limit royalties Rambus could charge for certain patented DRAM technology that had been incorporated into various industry standards. Rambus, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, No. 07-1086 consolidated with 07-1124, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 8662 (D.C. Cir. April 22, 2008). The decision sharply undercuts the FTC?s effort to limit so-called ?patent hold-up? threats to standard-setting activities, and consequently highlights the need for standardsetting organizations (?SSOs?) and their participants to establish clear IP rules and self-police compliance in order to avoid later problems regarding the use of proprietary technology in a standard.

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