News Column

Marvell Must Pay $1.17 Billion in Patent Violations Case, Jury Says

Dec. 26, 2012

Brian Bowling, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A federal jury on Wednesday awarded Carnegie Mellon University $1.169 billion in damages on its claim that a Bermuda-based chip manufacturer violated its patents.

The nine-member jury rejected counterclaims by Marvell Technology Group Ltd. that the CMU patents were invalid.

In a ruling that could triple the damages, the jury also determined that the company, whose United States operations are based in Santa Clara, Calif., knowingly violated CMU's patents.

The lawsuit involved patents for a noise detection technology commonly used when reading computer hard drives. About half of the 2.34 billion chips Marvell sold between 2003 and 2012 went to hard drive manufacturer Western Digital, according to court documents.

Testimony in the civil trial lasted four weeks, and the jury began deliberations Friday afternoon.

Attorneys for CMU had no immediate comment on the verdict.

Steven Madison, one of the attorneys representing Marvell, said the case is far from over because Marvell has several pending motions.

"We're disappointed, obviously, by the verdict," he said.

The company is asking U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to declare a mistrial based on comments Carnegie Mellon's attorney made in closing arguments.

Marvell also has a pending motion challenging the method CMU used to estimate damages, which are based on the royalties the university argues it would have charged Marvell for each chip sold that used the technology. The company has a third motion challenging the sufficiency of evidence the jury used to find in favor of the university.

"It's like halftime," he said.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Source: (c)2012 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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