The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") had previously decided in favor of Rambus, and the FTC appealed "challeng[ing] virtually all of the ALJ's rulings and ask[ing] that the Initial Decision be set aside in its entirety." In re Rambus, Inc., Docket No. 9302 at 16.1 The FTC's opinion granted this relief, reversed the ALJ's decision and found that Rambus had engaged in exclusionary conduct that significantly contributed to Rambus's acquisition of monopoly power. The opinion has now been stayed pending appeal to the D.C. Circuit. The Manufacturers seek to admit this opinion into evidence.
Federal Rule of Evidence ("FRE") 803 permits certain types of hearsay to be introduced as evidence. The Manufacturers invoke Rule 803(8)(C) to permit them to introduce the FTC opinion.
The first hurdle to admitting a public record into evidence is whether it "results from an investigation." The Fourth Circuit has held that "[a] judge in a civil trial is not an investigator, rather a judge." Nipper v. Snapes, 7 F.3d 415, 417 (1993). Accordingly, another judge's findings of fact were not made pursuant to an investigation, and it was reversible error for the district court to admit them into evidence. Id. at 417-18.
A second hurdle to admitting a public record under 803(8)(C) is whether "the sources of information or other circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness." Rambus points to two factors indicating a lack of trustworthiness: (1) that the FTC had a "motivation problem" because the case presented the opportunity to make policy, and (2) that the pending appeal, coupled with the fact that the FTC largely reversed the ALJ's findings and conclusions, suggest that the opinion is not reliable.
Recall that Judge Whyte was once the frontrunner for the CAFC seat currently held by Judge Moore.
from Idaho Statesman, 1 Feb 08:
A California company’s [Rambus] charge that Micron and other companies infringed on patents used in the manufacture of dynamic random-access memory goes to trial next week.
If Micron loses, it could be forced to pay millions of dollars in royalty fees to Los Altos-based Rambus. The trial will decide if Micron is at fault or if Rambus illegally patented technology.
In August 2006, The Federal Trade Commission ruled unanimously that the company illegally obtained a monopoly by falsely obtaining the patents on the technology that would become the standard for DRAM chips.
"Through its successful strategy, Rambus was able to conceal its patents and patent applications until after the standards were adopted and the market was locked in," the FTC opinion said. "Only then did Rambus reveal its patents - through patent-infringement lawsuits against JDEC members who practiced the standard."
Rambus is appealing that decision. U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte, who is presiding over the current trial, denied a request by Micron and the other companies to enter the commission's findings as evidence.