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The retrial of Rambus Inc.’s patent infringement case against Infineon Technologies AG will begin in May as scheduled, according to a new court ruling, but the scope of the lawsuit will be narrower than Rambus executives had hoped. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled Thursday that memory-chip designer Rambus could continue with its lawsuit, with a hearing set to begin May 10. Infineon was seeking to delay the case up to two years. The case was filed in Virginia because Munich, Germany-based Infineon has a memory chip manufacturing plant in Richmond, Va. The trial will likely last several weeks and involve numerous pretrial rulings. The court also decided Thursday to reduce to four the number of patent claims that Los Altos, Calif.-based Rambus could bring against its German rival. Rambus originally alleged that Infineon infringed patents in more than 50 instances. “We don’t like the fact that there were some claims that were thrown out,” Rambus lawyer John Danforth said. “But we’re still left with a trial for four very broad claims … and we’re highly confident of the outcome.” Infineon executives could not be reached for comment late Thursday. Thursday’s rulings were the latest in a heated battle that began in 2000, when Rambus sued Infineon over royalty payments. Infineon refused to pay, alleging that Rambus participated in an industry standard setting group from 1991 to 1995 but failed to disclose that it already had patents on some technical specifications. A Virginia jury decided in 2001 that Rambus should pay Infineon about $10 million in damages and litigation costs. A federal appeals court reversed the trial court ruling in early 2003, and Infineon demanded the upcoming retrial. Rambus shares gained 81 cents in extended trading, after the court ruling was disclosed, after finishing at $33.99, up 25 cents, on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Infineon’s U.S.-traded shares gained 68 cents Thursday to close at $15.87 on the New York Stock Exchange. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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