Microchip heavyweights Micron and Hynix used their combined power to prevent Rambus' superior memory technology from becoming an industry standard, a Rambus lawyer said in court.

Opening statements began in a California state court on Monday in a long running antitrust lawsuit launched by Rambus against rivals Micron and Hynix.

Rambus accuses Micron and Hynix of boycotting its RDRAM memory technology, according to its lawsuit. Micron and Hynix improperly colluded to restrict production and raise the price of Rambus chips, the lawsuit alleges.

The company claims up to $4.38 billion in lost profits. Micron and Hynix deny any anticompetitive conduct.

In court, Rambus attorney Bart Williams said Micron and Hynix conspired to prevent Rambus' technology, a kind of DRAM memory used in PCs, from becoming widely adopted even though it was favored by chip giant Intel and PC manufacturers.

The defendants did not want to share the DRAM market with Rambus ... so the defendants cheated. Williams said.

Opening statements from Micron and Hynix attorneys are expected to be delivered on Tuesday.

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.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich, editing by Bernard Orr)