Here's a twist in the patent wars. A federal jury in Pittsburgh in late December ordered chipmaker Marvell Technology Group Ltd. to pay nearly $1.17 billion--yes, with a "B"--after it lost a patent infringement case brought by Carnegie Mellon University. The award is one of the largest ever in a patent case, topping the $1 billion award Apple got against Samsung.
The size of the award is not the only striking thing about this case, although it probably wouldn't have received so much attention if it hadn't been for the stratospheric figure.
If more people paid attention to how the legal system works in America, I think there would be mass anarchy.
Apple sues down the street from Cupertino and guess what? They get a $1B verdict from the local jury to punish the mean out-of-towners for stealing. Carnegie Mellon sues five miles down the road in Pittsburg and guess what? They get a $1B local jury to punish another group of mean out-of-towners for stealing.
Pick your venue and "buy" your verdict.
Despite what everyone learned in school, the legal system in America is not about blind ladies holding scales, but punishing the entity the jury doesn't like and for whatever reason. Legal bullies if you will.
Should it be a surprise that Samsung last month announced a new $1B Innovation Center in the heart of Silicon Valley? Gotta make some local friends to keep those golden scales balanced.
Mrvl stock went down to around $7 when this was annoucened from $8.5 in Dec 2012. Now stock price recovered and over performing. It's hovering around $10.5. That's 50% gain since the annoucement!
What's going on? No one believes this will impact Mrvl financials?
In an era in which the headline making patent cases involve subtle distinctions between products, it is interesting to see a pure technology case. This may result in Carnegie Mellon funds to further improve their well regarded computer science capabilities.
1.2B for 2 patents is madness. I suspect the Jury might consist of total idiots who have no background in tech. The starting point in such calculations should be the incremental profits that Marvel, made using this particular algo vs a previously used algo. Which by all chances will be less than a few millions. Oh wait.. its not abt damages here. Its abt pittsburg jury supporting local university and education.
"If more people paid attention to how the legal system works in America"
Well I pay attention so I know that our system of juris prudence has a Federal Circuit Court ("Court of Appeals") precisely to review judgments such as this one. "Mass anarchy" might have to wait until the entire legal process has been given the opportunity to work....
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