marvell santa clara Marvell Technologies slapped with $1.17 billion for patent infringements

A Federal Pennsylvania (U.S.) Jury said that Marvell Technologies, which produces high efficient computer chips, must pay $1.17 billion for two patent violations that belonged to Carnegie Mellon University.

In the lawsuit, Carnegie Mellon University claimed that Marvell's infringed on two of their patents.  Marvell disagreed and said that the patents claimed by the University were invalid due to other similar systems made before the patents were registered.  In particular, Marvell's attorney's cited that the University themselves were copying Seagate's patent that was filed 14 months previous to theirs.

The patent case was heard before Judge Nora Barry Fischer of United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh.

After reviewing all of the evidence presented the jury agreed that Marvell Technologies violated two of the University’s patents in regards to patent numbers 6201839 and 6438180.  Both of the patents were in relation to techniques in which signals are received and how to record them more efficiently. 

Not only did the jury agree that Marvell was using the patents, they stated that the infringements on the patents was a ‘willful’ act.  In other words, the jury said that Marvell didn't just make a mistake, but knew beforehand they would be stealing the patented technology.

Carnegie Mellon University said that the judgment against Marvell was a positive one because it protected the research and development made for education and its collaboration with private industry.

"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…” the University said in a recent press statement. “The university’s singular success, particularly over the past 40 years, has been achieved in large measure through collaboration with industry. We value those relationships greatly.”

As mobile computer technology moves through this new phase of research and development, these costly patent infringement lawsuits will become more commonplace.  Some recent case examples are the Apple suit against SamsungMotorola’s lawsuit against Apple and the recent Research in Motion and Visto case.  

Marvell Technologies, which is based on the Island of Bermuda was started in 1995 and has operations around the globe with a workforce of about 7 thousand employees.  Their U.S. base of operations is located in Santa Clara, California along with corporate offices and design centers located in 16 countries.  Marvell’s microprocessor architecture and digital signal processing are made for many numbers of platforms, which include mobile and wireless, networking, consumer and high volume storage solutions.  They also manufacture LED processors, broadband & wireless transceivers and storage controllers.