updated 08:25 am EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Carnegie Mellon suit claims willful infringement of two hard drive patents
US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer has ordered "enhanced damages" be paid to Carnegie Mellon University by Marvell Technology in a patent lawsuit. Upholding a previous judgement, the judge has awarded $1.54 billion to the university from component manufacturer Marvell Technology Group for willful infringement of a series of mass storage patents.
In her 72-page ruling, the judge wrote that the award "is sufficient to penalize Marvell for its egregious behavior, and to deter future infringement activities." Carnegie Mellon sought triple damages, but the judge declined to award it, as the amount would have threatened the survival of the company.
Marvell is reviewing the decision, and claims that it is preparing a response. Marvell argued that $0.50 per chip used to calculate the damages in the suit was legally unjustified, and a single $250,000 payment would have sufficed.
Marvell was originally accused of infringing two patents related to hard drive controller boards, associated with "noise predictive detection," which is used to increase accuracy in retrieving data from magnetic platter hard drives. The verdict affirms that Marvell had sold billions of chips with the Carnegie Mellon-owned technology without being licensed to do so.
Marvell Technology Group is a producer of storage, communications and consumer semiconductor products. It ships more than a billion integrated circuits per year for high-volume storage, mobile and wireless, networking, consumer, and digital entertainment.