Big money in little chips: Rambus case on appeal

Computer chip designer Rambus Inc. could pocket up to $3 billion in royalties and raise prices for consumers of all manner of computing devices if an administrative law judge's ruling in its favor is allowed to stand, the Federal Trade Commission argued in an appeal.

In the filing, the FTC legal staff said Stephen J. McGuire's ruling was "fatally flawed" as well as based on factual and legal errors. In February, McGuire, who is the agency's chief administrative law judge, dismissed charges that Rambus had lulled chip makers into including its patented technology in their standards.

"This decision is wrong in its premises, wrong in its analysis, and wrong in its outcome," according to the appeal, which was made public last week.

The filing warns that any Rambus royalties collected by chip makers would ultimately be paid by consumers who buy personal computers, gadgets and a variety of other devices that rely on silicon-based memory.

The commission is expected to hear the FTC staff's appeal, though the timing has not been announced. Any decision could then be brought before a federal appellate court.

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News source: News Observer

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