Rambus jury in fourth week of deliberation

By Laird HarrisonSAN FRANCISCO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - In its fourth week of deliberations, the jury in Rambus Inc’s $4 billion antitrust lawsuit against Micron and Hynix has yet to reach a verdict — and is reviewing more testimony from the trial.The 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’s technology from becoming widely used. Rambus claims it lost billions of dollars in business.Micron and Hynix countered that Rambus’s chip technology was plagued by technical problems and that Rambus blames competitors for its own failure.Jurors on Wednesday asked to review the testimony of 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.”The jury has already listened to one readback of Sadler’s testimony, by a court reporter. It lasted more than an hour.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 four weeks, the jury has deliberated on 11 days. On Tuesday it expanded its schedule from five hours per day to seven hours per day.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, which was worth $1.46 billion in stock market value on Wednesday. Rambus shares closed at $15.68 on Wednesday, up nearly 2 percent.The company’s shares often gyrate in tandem with major court decisions.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.

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