LONDON – A Pittsburgh jury has found that chip company Marvell infringed two disk drive patents owned by Carnegie Mellon University and awarded damages totaling $1.169 billion. Marvell denied it infringed the patents and said it will appeal the decision.
The jury award against Marvell is reportedly the third largest ever in a patent case. Since the infringement was ruled by a judge to be "willful," the jury had the option of awarding up to three times the original damage amount.
The jury verdict was delivered on Dec. 26, 2012, as part of a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Carnegie Mellon University against Marvell Technology Group and subsidiary Marvell Semiconductor Inc. U.S. Patent Nos. 6,201,839 and 6,438,180 and the claims of infringement extend back to 2003.
Marvell said in a statement that the company expects no disruption to its business as a result of the ruling and that it would be challenge the judgment through "all appropriate post-trial motions and appeal processes." The Pittsburgh district court has yet to rule on Marvell's defenses and motions, including a request for a mistrial.
Marvell said the patents protect a technique related to read-channel signal detection that is not used in any Marvell chips. In addition, Marvell asserted that the patents protect a theoretical technique that cannot be implemented in silicon, even using the most advanced techniques available now or as far back as 2003. Marvell acknowledged that the jury disagreed with Marvell's position.
In a statement, Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University said: "We felt the evidence we submitted was compelling, and the jury agreed." The university said the disputed patents protected systems and methods developed by Jose Moura, an engineering professor, and Aleksandar Kavcic, a former PhD student who is now a engineering professor at the University of Hawaii.
The work that led to the inventions patented by Moura and Kavcic was supported by the university's Data Storage Systems Center.
Marvell has yet to set aside any liability in its financial statement as a result of the jury award, the company said.
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