Rambus trial pulls in the chip glitterati

A trial starts in San Francisco today, prompted by semiconductor design Rambus that threatens to drag in a long list of the rich and famous in Silicon Valley.

Rambus, a semiconductor design firm that specializes in intellectual property, alleges that DRAM makers Samsung, Hynix and Micron conspired to prevent the adoption of RDRAM, an alternative design for dynamic random access memory.

RDRAM, at one time heavily promoted by chip colossus Intel,  ceded victory to a memory technology called DDR. Eventually, most of the industry, including Intel, gave their backing to this alternative standard.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which has seen court documents, a number of high profile witnesses are being called by the different parties concerned.

Rambus wants Michael Dell and Steve Appleton, Micron’s CEO, to take the stand. On the other hand Micron wants a list of senior executives and former executives from Intel to take the stand.

Those include CEO Paul Otellini, former CEO Craig Barrett, Michael Splinter, Pat Gelsinger and Sun hardware designer Andreas Bechtolsheim.

The chip illuminati may or may not appear depending on how the judge schedules the case – but Rambus wants billions in damages if the trial goes in its favor.

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