Jury orders Marvell to cough up US$1.17B

Chip maker Marvell technology Group Ltd., has been ordered to pay the Carnegie Mellon University US$1.17 billion after a jury in Pennsylvania last week found the company guilty of infringing two technology patents held by the school.

Court documents indicate that the nine-person jury at the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania found that Marvell, a subsidiary of Marvell Semiconductor Inc. (MSI), knowingly infringed on two hard disk drive patents held by the university. The court document also states that Marvell also contributed to patent infringement by its customers. The damages could potentially triple according to a report from Computerworld.com.


Excerpt from court verdict form 

As it is the award already eclipses that of the $1 billion that Samsung Electronics has to pay after losing a patent battle in December last year against Apple Inc. over smart phone technologies.

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“Protection of the discoveries of our faculty and students is very important to us,” the university said in a statement today. “We appreciate the willingness of the jurors to give us their time and attention during this holiday season to hear our case.”

In its lawsuit filed in 2009, Carnegie said the infringed patents involve a “method and apparatus for correlation-sensitive adaptive sequence detection” and soft and hard sequence detection in ISI memory channels.”

The patents, identified as U.S. Patent numbers 6,201,839 and 6,438,180 were awarded in 2001 and 2002, respectively. They are “fundamental technologies for increasing the accuracy with which hard disk drive circuits read data from high speed magnetic disk,” according to Carnegie.

The systems and methods were developed and patented by Jose Moura, a professor in Carnegie’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Aleksandar Kavcic, a former Ph.D. student of Moura who is now a professor at the University of Hawaii.

However, Marvell contents it has strong grounds for an appeal and said it will seek to have the jury’s findings.

“Marvell and MSI strongly believe the theoretical methods described in these patents cannot practically be built in silicon even using the most advanced techniques available today, let alone a decade ago.” Marvell said in a statement. “Rather Marvell and MSI use their own patented read channel technology developed in house.”

“Marvell will review the verdict, evaluate the post-trial motions, and evaluate the likelihood of a successful appeal,” the statement said.

 Read the whole story here.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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