WASHINGTON The SDRAM patent-infringement trial in Richmond, Va., is expected to go to the jury by midweek after the judge in the case threw out Infineon Technologies AG's antitrust counter-claims against Rambus Inc. on Monday (May 7).
The jury is expected to decide fraud and racketeering charges against Rambus (Los Altos, Calif.) involving its participation in SDRAM standards deliberations before a Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (Jedec) committee. Infineon's remaining counter-claim before the jury involves allegations that Rambus concealed its SDRAM patent applications during the standards debate.
Regardless of the outcome of the jury trial, attention is now focusing on an expected appeal by Rambus of decisions last week by Judge Robert Payne dismissing all of its 57 patent infringement claims against Infineon. Rambus chief executive Geoff Tate vowed to appeal Judge Payne' s rulings to a federal appeals court in Altanta.
Industry observers said the appeal will likely focus on Judge Payne's restrictive definition of a bus. If Rambus can convince the appeals court to broaden the bus definition to cover technologies other than the Rambus approach, observers said it could succeed in presenting evidence on the Jedec deliberations that was curtailed in the Richmond trial.
Participants in the Jedec deliberations have said Rambus opted for a passive role in the standards debate, often not even voting on key provisions of the spec. "They were just there," said one. Some analysts said Rambus would seek to exploit the maneuverings of other Jedec members on appeal.
Rambus said last Friday (May 4) it would also pursue a dozen other U.S. and European patent-infringement cases against Infineon, Micron Technology Inc. and Hyundai Electronics. A trial in Germany against Infineon is scheduled to begin May 18, Rambus said.