A federal jury on Wednesday found that Marvell Technology Group infringed two patents held by Carnegie Mellon University, and ordered the chipmaker to pay $1.17 billion in damages.
award is one of the largest by a jury in a U.S. patent case, and is
nearly twice Marvell's profit in its latest fiscal year. It followed a
month-long trial in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, the home of
Jurors also found that Marvell's patent
infringement was willful. This could enable the trial judge, Nora Barry
Fischer, to award triple damages, a sum close to the $3.96 billion
market value of Marvell, whose chips are used for reading and writing
data on hard disk drives.
Shares of Marvell fell 10.3 percent on Wednesday, closing down 85 cents at $7.40 on the Nasdaq.
Mellon said it was gratified by the verdict. "Protection of the
discoveries of our faculty and students is very important to us," it
Marvell and its law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
company had argued that it had acted in good faith, and the Carnegie
Mellon patents were invalid. In a November 29 regulatory filing, Marvell
said it intended to litigate vigorously in any potential appeal if it
lost at trial.
Carnegie Mellon had accused Marvell of infringing
patents used in technology for hard disk drive circuits to read data
from high-speed magnetic disks, according to a statement from the
university's law firm, K&L Gates.
The law firm said the
patents related to systems and methods developed by Carnegie Mellon
Professor Jose Moura and a doctoral student, Aleksandar Kavcic, who is
now a professor at the University of Hawaii.
Through its verdict,
the jury found that Marvell had sold billions of chips incorporating the
technology without being licensed to do so, K&L Gates said.
is based in Hamilton, Bermuda. Its U.S. operating unit Marvell
Semiconductor Inc is based in Santa Clara, California, and was also a
defendant in the case.
The company posted a $615.1 million profit
on net revenue of $3.39 billion in its most recent fiscal year, which
ended on January 28. It counts Western Digital Corp and Seagate Technology Plc among its largest customers.
The trial judge set a May 1, 2013, hearing to consider a final judgment in the case, court records show.
case is Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group Ltd et
al, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, No. 09-00290.
© Thomson Reuters 2012