Chip maker Marvell smacked with $1.17 billion patent verdict

Facepalm, face palm

A federal jury in Pittsburgh ruled that Marvell Technologies, which makes energy-efficient chips for servers and phones, violated two patents belong to Carnegie Mellon University and directed Marvell to pay an eye-popping $1,169,140,271 in damages.

The patents in question, which were issued in 2001 and 2002, relate to techniques of using noise signals to more accurately record data sequences. (You can see the two patents here and here).

The jury verdict, one of the largest such patent rulings in history, is obviously a setback for Bermuda-based Marvell, which is using ARM-based chips to challenge Intel for a share of the enterprise data market. Its share price fell about 10 percent on Wednesday.

The jury also ruled that Marvell violated the patents intentionally, which means Carnegie Mellon can ask the judge to triple the initial $1.17 billion verdict. Marvell, however, will almost certainly appeal the ruling. Court records show that earlier this month the company demanded a mistrial, though the reason for that is unclear. Whatever the outcome, the current $1.17 billion is unlikely to stand as is.

The judge has already asked the parties to set out a schedule that will see them filing follow-up motions into the spring. In the meantime, it is also possible the sides will discuss a licensing deal to end the court proceedings, which could go on for years.

You can see the jury verdict for yourself here:

Carnegie Mellon v Marvell[protected-iframe id=”f51f4afa951ae607198fcf81cbe493a2-14960843-6578147″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”600″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]

(Image by Denis Belyaevskiy via Shutterstock)

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