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Rambus vs. Infineon: final pre-trial meet set

Infineon trying to avoid jury trial

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The final pre-trial hearing in Rambus' legal action against Infineon has been set for 10 April in preparation for what a battle over patents that will have a major affect on the memory industry.

That was the date the trial itself was expected to kick off, but that's been put back a week.

In the trial, Rambus is hoping that the jury will side with it against Infineon, and declare that the German company has violated Rambus' SDRAM intellectual property.

In the most recent pre-trial hearing, conducted on 29 March, Infineon tried to persuade Judge Robert E Payne to hear a motion asking for a summary judgement on the infringement claim. Infineon believes that, following the Judge's Markman Ruling - a key part of any patent infringement case, it essentially defines the range of allegations to be considered in the trial - there's enough of a case for a summary judgement dismissing Rambus' action.

However, accepting Rambus' claim that it can pursue its case in good faith, it looks like Judge Payne will allow the jury trial to go ahead. "I'm not going to put [Rambus] to this task of defending summary judgement motions at the same time they are going through trying to pick up the aftermath of what should have been done before, without regard to whose fault it was," ruled Payne.

Infineon won a small victory in that one Rambus expert witness, Dr Huber, will apparently not be allowed to testify, having changed his "characterisation of [Infineon] products" between his original report and a supplemental report issued after the Markman Ruling. Said the judge: "Flip-flops are all right, I suppose, for those who are running for elected office. They are not much good for experts or anybody else."

Infineon's point is that Rambus' case that the trial should proceed with a jury is based on the validity of Huber's testimony. Having changed his mind, Huber's testimony is called into question, and thus so is Rambus' claim that it can proceed and, in good faith, prove infringement. The final pre-trial conference on 10 April will reveal whether Infineon's gambit pays off. ®

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