Friday, September 01, 2006

Is the Fed Schizo?

Stephan Kinsella posting at Mises Economics Blog opines about Rambus Inc. and its dealings with the US Patent Office and the US FTC.

Yet another entry from bizarro fed-land is the persecution of Rambus, the computer memory chip developer.

Rambus took advantage of the state's patent office--a unique agency, open to the public, which hands out state monopolies for a modest fee. Now Rambus stands accused by the FTC of having "unlawfully monopolized markets for four memory chip technologies" (2). And how did they do this? Well, Rambus became a member of an industry standards committee "working on standardization of DRAM chips." And while it was a member of this committee, Rambus "continued to file and prosecute certain patents and patent applications related to the technology under review by" the committee. So, when the standard was released, it was covered by Rambus's patents.

Hey, pretty creative business move by Rambus, wouldn't you say?

But not so fast. As a remedy to the sin of actually applying for the monopoly grants the government offers, the FTC wants to "bar Rambus from enforcing any existing licensing agreements, along with certain patents."

Ah, what the state giveth, the state taketh away.
Mr. Kinsella's blog is linked here.

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