By Eric Schweibenz
On June 23, 2010, ALJ Theodore R. Essex issued the public version of Order No. 19 (dated September 17, 2009) in Certain Semiconductor Chips Having Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory Controllers and Products Containing Same (Inv. No. 337-TA-661).  In the Order, ALJ Essex granted Complainant Rambus, Inc.’s (“Rambus”) motion to compel testimony from a document collection witness and for supplemental responses to interrogatories, and denied as moot its motion to compel source code documents, and communications between Rambus and Respondent nVidia Corporation (“NVIDIA”).

According to the Order, Rambus filed a motion on June 16, 2009 to compel NVIDIA to: (1) produce all source code bearing on the operation of the memory controllers contained in the accused products; (2) produce all technical documents describing the accused products; (3) produce all communications between Rambus and NVIDIA and documents relating to those communications; (4) provide a witness competent to testify on NVIDIA's document collection in response to Rambus's discovery requests; and (5) supplement its responses to Rambus's Interrogatory Nos. 1, 75, and 142.

ALJ Essex determined that based upon documents produced by NVIDIA after Rambus filed its motion, the first two issues raised in Rambus’s motion to compel were denied as moot.

According to the Order, with respect to the third issue, Rambus argued NVIDIA failed to produce "large numbers of communications it has had with Rambus, as well as documents relating to those communications - including internal communications evidencing NVIDIA’s understanding of Rambus’s communications.”  ALJ Essex determined that in view of NVIDIA’s representation that it produced the communications found after a reasonable search, the fact that many documents were not found “is not atypical in a production this large, between large corporate parties, especially when the missing documents are electronic communications, such as the internal documents sought by Rambus.”  ALJ Essex therefore denied this issue as moot.

With respect to the fourth issue, Rambus argued that it timely served NVIDIA with a deposition notice seeking a witness to testify as to NVIDIA’s “search for, collection, and production of documents....”  According to the Order, NVIDIA did not dispute that the notice was timely or that the information sought was relevant, but rather, that Rambus was not entitled to such a witness because Rambus “had refused NVIDIA deposition testimony on the very same topic for months.” Although Rambus alleged that it agreed to produce said witness and nVidia did not pursue the offer, ALJ Essex determined the exhibit cited by Rambus did not show that it agreed to provide such a witness, and NVIDIA had not identified any evidence to indicate that Rambus refused to provide such a witness.  Because Rambus timely served NVIDIA with the notice of deposition, and the testimony of said witness is properly discoverable, ALJ Essex determined that Rambus was entitled to said testimony.

With regard to the final issue, Rambus requested supplemental responses to interrogatories 1, 75, and 142.  Interrogatory 1 requested the identity of memory types supported by Rambus’s definition of “accused products.”  NVIDIA argued that products for which information was not provided included items that did not contain DRAM, and those items were outside the scope of the investigation.  ALJ Essex determined that memory types of identified products must be provided, since such information is relevant to the investigation.  Rambus Interrogatory numbers 75 and 142 requested the identity of each memory controller used in the accused products, by internal NVIDIA designation or number, marketing designation or product name.  Although NVIDIA represented that it had provided the requested information, ALJ Essex granted Rambus’s motion with respect to these interrogatories, after determining that NVIDIA’s information provided only marketing designations, and not product numbers, and that “it is not sufficient to respond to interrogatories with confusing, convoluted, and repetitive charts.”