Jury Awards Carnegie Mellon U. $1.17-Billion in Patent-Infringement Case

A federal jury in Pittsburgh on Wednesday found that the Marvell Technology Group and Marvell Semiconductor Inc. infringed on patents stemming from the work of a Carnegie Mellon University professor and a former student, and awarded the university roughly $1.17-billion in damages, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Their technology “increased the accuracy with which hard-disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks,” according to the newspaper.

The company had argued that the technology was subject to an earlier patent, but all nine jurors disagreed in handing up their unanimous verdict. The jury found that the company had knowingly infringed on Carnegie Mellon’s patents and had “no reasonable defense” for doing so, according to the newspaper. The jury’s finding of a willful patent violation also means that the judge in the case could choose to triple the damages awarded to the university.

A Marvell spokesman told The New York Times that the company would ask the judge to reduce the damages in posttrial hearings, and might appeal the ruling otherwise. After the verdict was announced, the company’s share price dropped by roughly 10 percent, according to the Times.

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