Second only to Moore's Law as a source of story ideas for pundits in the computer industry, Rambus was back in the news again last week.
This particular verdict was favorable to Rambus, but it wasn't the final word, nor was it exceptionally important. CNET News.com didn't even publish a news article about it, though Tom Krazit did write a pretty good blog post on the subject and it inspired a good post on intellectual property development from former Rambus exec Steve Tobak on his blog. Rambus has been involved in a great many lawsuits. Some of them work out in the company's favor, some don't, and I can't begin to predict what'll happen in the future.
I've written about Rambus many times, including this editorial for Microprocessor Report back in 2000. As I said there, I think Rambus should have disclosed what it was working on while it participated in the JEDEC standards organization.
But that's more a statement of ethics than law. JEDEC didn't require such disclosure at the time-- it does now!-- and other companies had allegedly done what Rambus did. Last week's court decision held that Rambus acted within the law at JEDEC, reinforcing the company's claims that it is owed licensing fees for its patents.
So I guess there are three things for which we should thank Rambus-- developing advanced DRAM technology, causing us all to think about the role of intellectual property in our industry, and providing work for professional bloggers.