A federal jury has found that Marvell Technology nfringed two patents held by Carnegie Mellon University, and ordered the chipmaker to pay $1.17 billion in damages.
The fine is nearly twice Marvell's profit in its latest fiscal year. It followed a month-long trial in the US District Court in Pittsburgh, the home of Carnegie Mellon.
To make matters worse, jurors decided that Marvell's patent infringement was wilful which could allow the trial judge, Nora Barry Fischer, to award triple damages, a sum close to the $3.96 billion market value of Marvell
According to Reuters, Carnegie Mellon said protection of the discoveries of its faculty and students is very important to it. We guess that nearly $4 billion and the scalp of a US technology company for the Dean's office will also be nice.
Marvell claimed that it had acted in good faith, and the Carnegie Mellon patents were invalid. It is almost certain to appeal
Carnegie Mellon claimed Marvell stole technology for hard disk drive circuits to read data from high-speed magnetic disks.
The patents were developed by Carnegie Mellon Professor Jose Moura and a doctoral student, Aleksandar Kavcic, who is now a professor at the University of Hawaii.
The jury decided that Marvell had sold billions of chips incorporating the technology without being licensed.