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Marvell to pay Carnegie Mellon $1.17 billion

28 Dec 2012  | Elmie Gonzales

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A US federal jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ruled that Marvell Technology Group is guilty of patent infringement and awarded Carnegie Mellon University $1.17 billion in damages.

Marvell was accused of using two Carnegie Mellon-owned patents covering technology associated with "noise predictive detection," which is used to increase accuracy in retrieving data from drives. The systems and methods were developed and patented by Jose Moura, a professor in the University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Aleksandar Kavcic, a former Ph.D. student of Moura who is now a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Hawaii. Carnegie Mellon sued Marvell in 2009 for the use of the said patents without a licence.

Marvell claimed that the patents were invalid and alleged that the patents at issue were improperly obtained by withholding information about prior inventions from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Clearly, the jury does not believe Marvell's argument and ordered the company to pay the university for damages. The jury also discovered that the company's misuse of the patented technologies was "wilful," which may cost Marvell triple the amount in damages.

The verdict is a huge blow to Marvell, after its recent efforts to counter critics. Marvell ships around a billion chips annually and one of its biggest customers is Research in Motion (RIM), which is facing financial troubles of its own. Other clients include According to Reuters, 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.

In an official statement, Carnegie Mellon said, "It was a hard-fought battle every step of the way as we insisted that the rights of our inventors and our industrial partners in the DSSC (Data Storage Systems Center) be fully protected."




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