Marvell Hoping To Overturn Massive $1.17B Patent Verdict

Marvell on Thursday said it plans to appeal a jury verdict awarding Carnegie Mellon University $1.17 billion in damages for patent infringement claims brought against the company. At the center of the dispute are two patents -- U.S. Patent 6,201,839 and 6,438,180 -- that a federal jury found Marvell and its U.S. operating subsidiary, Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. (MSI), had infringed upon, resulting in one of the biggest awards ever by a U.S. jury for patent infringement.

According to Marvell, the patents cover a specific technique related to read channel detector technology that is not practiced by any Marvell chips.

"Marvell and MSI strongly believe the theoretical methods described in these patents cannot practically be built in silicon even using the most advanced techniques available today, let alone with the technology available a decade ago," Marvell said in a statement. "Rather, Marvell and MSI use their own patented read channel technology developed in house. Nevertheless, the jury disagreed with Marvell and MSI’s position and found that the patents were literally and willfully infringed and valid, and awarded damages in the amount of $1.17 billion."


The award amount trumps even that of Apple's victory over Samsung, which resulted in a $1.05 billion damages award. Whether or not it's justified depends on who you ask.

"We are gratified by the jury's unanimous verdict in favor of Carnegie Mellon today in our patent infringement case against Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and Marvell Semiconductor Inc.," Carnegie Mellon University said in a statement. "We felt the evidence we submitted was compelling, and the jury agreed. Protection of the discoveries of our faculty and students is very important to us. We appreciate the willingness of the jurors to give us their time and attention during this holiday season to hear our case."

Marvell believes it has strong grounds for appeal and will seek to overturn the verdict in post-trial motions before the District Court. If that's unsuccessful, Marvell will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.