May 25, 2018
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Marvell loses patent case against Carnegie Mellon, damages top $1 billion

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

PITTSBURGH — Marvell Technology Group was found to have infringed two patents held by Carnegie Mellon University and ordered to pay $1.17 billion in damages in a jury verdict on Wednesday in federal court.

The jury, in the case heard in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, also found that Marvell’s patent infringement was willful, which could enable the trial judge, Nora Barry Fischer, to award triple damages.

Shares of Marvell, a maker of chips used in PCs and servers, fell as much as 13 percent.

Marvell was accused of infringing two patents for technology to increase the accuracy with which hard disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks, according to K&L Gates, a law firm representing Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon.

Through its verdict, the jury found that Marvell had sold billions of chips incorporating the technology without being licensed to do so, the law firm said in a statement.

The jury verdict followed a month-long trial, according to a form made public in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Marvell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Edward DeFranco, one of its lawyers, did not immediately respond to a similar request.

In the court case, Marvell argued that it did not infringe or subjectively intend to infringe Carnegie Mellon patents and that the patents were invalid.

Marvell is based in Hamilton, Bermuda, and makes controller chips used for reading and writing data on hard disk drives. The company counts Western Digital Corp and Seagate Technology Plc among its largest customers.

K&L Gates said the patents related to information storage technology 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.


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