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Rambus damns fraud trial as a ‘miscarriage of justice’

Demands a retrial

Rambus vs Infineon Rambus has asked the US court to re-try its action against Infineon on the grounds that the jury's support of the chip maker's fraud allegations against it was perverse.

Rambus' motion a request for "judgement as a matter of law". Essentially, its argument is that "no reasonable jury" would have sided with Infineon's claim that Rambus committed fraud because the chip maker "did not establish the requisite elements of fraud", Rambus' request claims.

If its request is granted, Rambus can demand a retrial.

Rambus was ruled to have committed fraud by failing to disclose to industry standards body JEDEC that it had applied for patents covering DDR SDRAM technology. Rambus says that "the first showing of a proposal for standardisation of DDR SDRAM was one year after Rambus attended its last JEDEC meeting. Accordingly, Rambus had no duty of disclosure".

Rambus also claims that, under Virginia statutes - the trial was held in Richmond - Infineon had no right to raise the fraud allegation. According to Virginia state law, a fraud claim must be "filed within two years from actual or inquiry notice". Rambus notes that Infineon's allegations result from knowledge of its patents that the chip maker gained by "1997 at the latest". In other words, the two-year statute of limitations period had long since passed when Infineon raised the fraud claim at the trial.

Finally, Rambus points to what it calls "prejudicial instructional error" - in other words, dodgy comments from trial judge Robert Payne misled the jury.

Rambus cites precedent that "a patent applicant may properly amend or add claims to cover a competitor's products about which the applicant has learned during the prosecution of the patent application". That appears to be a reference to Infineon's contention that Rambus retroactively added certain technologies to its DDR SDRAM patent application when it learned that those technologies were to be included in JEDEC's SDRAM spec.

Had Judge Payne made that precedent clear to the jury - in a so-called Kingsdown Instruction, after the case that set the precedent - Rambus reckons, the jury would not have decided that the memory developer had committed fraud.

Only a retrial will bring these new issues out into the open, Rambus believes. The original trial was "against the clear weight of the evidence and constitutes as miscarriage of justice", the company claims. ®

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