BOSTON A law firm specializing in the representation of industry standards-setting bodies today filed a "friend of the court" brief asking that the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case of Rambus vs. Infineon.
The firm of Lucash, Gesmer & Updegrove LLP called the case one of the "most closely watched" in the high-tech industry and claimed that the outcome could reverberate across the hundreds of trade groups that set standards for the electronics and other industries.
The brief was joined by 10 electronics standards setting bodies representing more than 8,600 members and includes the Consumer Electronics Association and Government Electronics and Information Technology Association along with the Electronic Components, Assemblies and Materials Association, Electronic Industries Association, IPC and VESA.
In June, Infineon Technologies A.G. filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn an appellate court ruling absolving Rambus Inc. of fraud for failing to disclose pending SDRAM patents to the JECEC Solid State Technology Association panel while the body was drafting an industry SDRAM standard.
At the time, an Infineon spokeswoman said the German chip maker was asking the court to find that lifting a fraud verdict against Rambus "is a clear disregard of the appellate procedure."
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal District in January threw out a jury verdict convicting Rambus of fraud stemming from a 2001 Richmond, Va., federal district court trial. The appellate court said the JEDEC rules for patent disclosure during standards deliberations were vague and conflicting and that Rambus was not obligated to reveal its patents until ballots were cast for the SDRAM standard.
Rambus left the JEDEC SDRAM committee in 1996 before any definitive ballots on the SDRAM specification.
However, Andrew Updegrove, author of the friend of the court brief, said in his filing that his firm was "greatly concern ed by the adverse effects that it anticipates will result from from the application of the Federal Circuit Court's decision in markets that extend far beyond memory chips."
Updegrove said the brief has touched a nerve among corporations and government agencies and noted that Visa, Mastercard and 15 States Attorney Generals from the U.S. and Puerto Rico also have signed on by attaching themselves to the brief.
"The States Attorney Generals are doing this because they felt it was a threat to the public trust," he said.
Lucash, Gesmer & Updegrove, which will provide its services on a pro bono basis, expects the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case as early as October.