Judge Peter Kirwan, Santa Clara County Superior Court
Judge Peter Kirwan, Santa Clara County Superior Court (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)

SAN FRANCISCO — After 10 years of buildup, a class action accusing Intel Corp. of manipulating product performance tests will continue to trial, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan ruled Thursday.

Plaintiffs accuse Intel of creating performance tests that falsely raised the value of its Pentium 4 processor, which they allege was in reality a subpar product. The tests artificially inflated prices, plaintiffs argue.

Intel has tried persistently to get the 2004 suit thrown out. Its last attempt, a motion for summary judgment filed in March, claimed plaintiffs can’t prove the performance tests influenced plaintiffs because most customers never saw those tests. Plaintiffs also can’t prove prices went up as a result of the tests, the defense argued.

Kirwan, in keeping with a tentative ruling he issued in April and comments he made at a subsequent hearing, disagreed with Intel.

“The court finds that the Intel internal documents could support the inference that Intel’s benchmarking efforts had an actual effect on performance perception in the market,” Kirwan wrote in his order.

The trial, originally scheduled to begin May 5, was pushed back to the end of next month after one of Intel’s witnesses fell ill.

“At this point Intel has basically played all of its cards and it will face trial on June 30,” Danko Meredith partner Mike Danko said on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Munger Tolles & Olson partner Gregory Stone, in Los Angeles, represents Intel. Neither Stone nor an Intel spokesman immediately responded to requests for comment.

Contact the reporter at mkendall@alm.com.