By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Jurors in an upcoming antitrust trial will not be told by the court that litigation opponents of Rambus have proven that the chipmaker shredded documents as part of its legal strategy, a California judge said at a hearing on Tuesday.
Rambus shares jumped 6.3 percent on news of the ruling.
Rambus accuses Micron and Hynix of boycotting its RDRAM memory technology, according to its lawsuit. The company claims up to $4.38 billion in lost profits.
Micron and Hynix deny any anticompetitive conduct.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found Rambus was wrong to shred hundreds of boxes of documents relevant in two patent infringement lawsuits it filed, sending its shares down 18 percent in one day.
At a hearing on Tuesday in a San Francisco state court, Judge James McBride rejected a request from Micron and Hynix that the jury in the antitrust case be told to consider it a fact that Rambus had a duty to preserve documents in anticipation of litigation. Rambus had opposed that request.
Instead, the companies will be able to litigate the issue during trial, McBride said.
"Evidence may be introduced by both parties," McBride said.
Opening statements in the case are expected to begin next week.
Rod Lewis, Micron's vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, said the federal appeals court ruling demonstrates Rambus's bad faith.
"We look forward to presenting these facts to the jury at trial," Lewis said in a statement.
Representatives for Hynix and Rambus could not immediately be reached.
The antitrust case in Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco is Rambus Inc. v. Micron Technology Inc. et al, 04-431105.
(Reporting by Dan Levine, editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)