WASHINGTON (CN) – The D.C. Circuit reversed the Federal Trade Commission’s finding that Rambus Inc. violated antitrust law by failing to disclose the patent interests it held in technology used to set industry standards for computer-memory technology.
In 1990 Rambus’ founders patented a faster design for dynamic random access memory, or DRAM. It claimed that the patent covered at least four technological advances that a private standard-setting organization included in DRAM industry standards.
The FTC determined that Rambus had intentionally hid its interest in the patents during the standard-setting process, in violation of the Sherman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act, either to acquire a monopoly through the standardization of its patented technology or to avoid paying patent-licensing fees.
The appellate court overturned the FTC’s decision, saying it was likely that Rambus’ technology would have been standardized “even if Rambus had disclosed its intellectual property” (emphasis in original).
As a result, the FTC could not show that Rambus’ alleged deception had an effect on competition in violation of antitrust law.
The court also cited serious concerns about the FTC’s lack of evidence to back up its claims.