Rambus is extending its patent tentacles into AMD and Transmeta, according to Electronic Buyers'News' estimable Jack Robertson.
The company wants to get the microprocessor duo to acknowledge that patents, granted in 1996, cover DDR (Double-Data Rate) SDRAM, a rival technology to its own Direct RDRAM.
The unspoken threat is that Rambus will sue these companies - if they reject its claims. Rambus is already sueing a clutch of DRAM makers - Micron, Infineon and Hyundai - to stake its claims to synchronous interface patents. Meanwhile, Micron and Hyundai are sueing Rambus. But out of the litigation jungle appears to be Hitachi, which last week folded its DRAM business with NEC into a new concern, Elpida.
Rambus appears ready to sue the DRAM and microprocessor world. Recently, the company also said that it will charge companies higher licence fees - if it goes to court with them.
This is hardly a strategy to win friends and influence people, but then it has little choice. Unless it establishes "ownership" of DDR-SDRAM, it's own Direct RDRAM could end up as little more than an interesting footnote in the history of the computer industry.
If it succeeds in law, the company gains new royalties - from DDR-SDRAM, while increasing unit prices of the technology. This will make Direct RDRAM more attractive as a price/perfomance step upgrade (as opposed to a big leap upwards). ®