$1.17 Billion Win for Carnegie Mellon

December 26, 2012

A federal jury on Wednesday found that Marvell Technology Group and Marvell Semiconductor Inc. infringed on patent rights held by Carnegie Mellon University because of work done there by a professor and a then-student. And in a record-setting verdict, the jury awarded Carnegie Mellon $1.17 billion, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

While an appeal is almost certain, there is also a chance Carnegie Mellon could see an even larger award. The jury found that Marvell violated the patent rights knowingly and without a good defense for its conduct. That means, the Post-Gazette reported, that the judge in the case could triple the damages.

According to the newspaper, the technology in question "increased the accuracy with which hard-disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks."

Lawyers for Marvell did not comment on the verdict. Bloomberg reported that the company's stock shares lost 10 percent of their value after the verdict.

An article in the technology publication Ars Technica says that while other patent suits have yielded initial awards larger than $1.17 billion, those sums were reduced. So this award, if upheld, would be larger than any other. The article says that Carnegie Mellon's success is "the starkest example yet of how universities are becoming more insistent that corporations pay them for their patents."

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