Rambus jury deliberates, reviews more testimony

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 3:39 PM
Rambus jury deliberates, reviews more testimony

By Laird Harrison

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The jury in Rambus Inc's $4 billion antitrust lawsuit against Micron Technology Inc and Hynix Semiconductor Inc is reviewing more testimony from the trial in its fifth week of deliberations.

A request to hear a transcript of witness testimony on Wednesday was not accompanied by any further information about when jurors in the California state court trial might render a verdict.

Over the course of a trial that lasted more than three months, Rambus accused Idaho-based Micron and South Korea-based Hynix of colluding to fix prices of memory chips used in personal computers and preventing Rambus' technology from becoming widely used. Rambus claims it lost billions of dollars in business.

Micron and Hynix countered that Rambus' chip technology was plagued by technical problems and that Rambus blames competitors for its own failure.

Jurors asked to review the testimony of Farhad Tabrizi, former vice president of worldwide marketing for Hynix. An email from Tabrizi in which he refers to "Rambus killing" is a key piece of evidence in the trial.

Last week, the jury listened to a readback of testimony by Michael Sadler, chief sales executive for Micron. In video testimony, he said he had met with Hynix representatives to discuss setting the prices of microchips, and agreed with a Rambus attorney that the conversation was "improper."

At its request, the jury has also listened to testimony by four other witnesses, all of them former executives at Hynix, Micron and their clients.

Over the course of five weeks, the jury has deliberated on 14 days.

Any antitrust damages awarded to Rambus could be instantly tripled under California law. Rambus is also seeking punitive damages.

Such an award could dramatically change the fortunes of Rambus, with a current stock market value around $1.9 billion.

The company's shares, which often gyrate in tandem with major court decisions, were down 1.8 percent at $16.52 on Nasdaq.

The 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 Laird Harrison; Editing by Richard Chang)