Marvell Semiconductor slammed with $1.17 billion in damages for patent infringement

Dec 26, 2012
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A jury has found Marvell Semiconductor to have infringed on two of Carnegie Mellon University's patents after a four week back-and-forth legal battle. The end result is $1,169,140,271 in damages that Marvell has been ordered to pay. If it sticks, this will prove to be the biggest patent-related verdict ever, a title currently held by Samsung, which was ordered to pay over a billion in damages earlier this year.

Marvell was ruled to have infringed on Patent No. 6,438,180 and Patent No. 6,201,839, both of which concern a method for reducing the sound produced by a hard drive when it is crunching away at data. Marvell stated during trial that Carnegie Mellon's patents aren't anything special, and that a patent pre-dating the two in question detailed the same information.

The jury wasn't convinced, however, and Marvell is now officially in the group of companies that have lost in patent cases with universities. This is especially bad news for Marvell considering that it made a tad over $900 million last year. The company, which is said to have sold over 2 billion infringing chips since 2003, has appealed the ruling.

Carnegie Mellon University was represented by K&L Gate; the firm's chairman Peter J. Kalis offered this statement. "We take special pride in this trial victory because of the decades-long relationship between our firm and Carnegie Mellon University and our deep appreciation for CMU‘s path-breaking and leadership role in the information age." The university followed this up by stating, "We did not undertake this suit lightly and once we undertook it we did not pursue it lightly."

[via ars technica]


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