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Rambus trial delayed

A German court has delayed the trial between the memory designer and two manufacturers because of procedural issues.

A German court has delayed a trial between Rambus and two memory manufacturers because of procedural issues, the company said Tuesday.

The trial--which pits the Mountain View, Calif.-based memory designer against memory manufacturers Micron Technology and Hyundai--centers on the validity and application of nine memory patents owned by Rambus that date back to 1990.

A German court in Mannheim was originally slated to hear evidence on the validity of the patents on Feb. 16. Now, the hearing on Friday will focus on procedural issues raised by Micron and Hyundai, Rambus said in a statement.

Similar suits are pending in the United States and Italy.

In the lawsuit, Rambus claims that the patents give it the right to obtain royalties from both companies for their production of synchronous dynamic RAM, the most common type of memory on the market today, and of double data rate DRAM, what many believe will be the most common type of memory in the future.

Micron and Hyundai dispute the validity of the patents. Additionally, the two companies claim that Rambus illegally failed to disclose the company's intellectual property to a technology standards body while all the companies were members. The nondisclosure, the memory manufacturers claim, invalidates any right of Rambus to collect royalties.

Last month, the U.S. District Court of Northern California ordered the disclosure of internal notes and memos from Rambus dating back to 1989. Hyundai claims that the documents will help it prove its case and has said it will seek to present the documents to the German court.

Due to the size of the memory market, analysts have said that the royalty claim, if upheld, could be worth billions of dollars. A number of companies have settled with Rambus, but payments under the settlement will be nullified if the patents are invalidated, Rambus has said.