Judge adds $366 million to patent award in CMU's favor

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A federal judge late Monday added $366 million to a billion-dollar-plus patent infringement award won by Carnegie Mellon University in a 5-year-old lawsuit against Marvell Technology Group.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer’s 72-page order responded to motions by CMU filed after a December 2012 trial. A jury found that Marvell willfully infringed on computer chip technology patented by CMU professor Jose Moura and then-student Alek Kavcic to increase the accuracy with which hard-disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks.

The jury awarded $1.17 billion, reflecting royalties of 50 cents per chip sold by Marvell during the period of the infringement.

Judge Fischer added $79 million to reflect damages incurred since the jury’s judgment. She added another $287 million to punish Marvell for willfully infringing.

The $287 million addition was a compromise that was closer to Marvell’s position than to CMU’s. The university had sought to have the judgment more-than-tripled, to $3.7 billion. Judge Fischer decided instead to add just 23 percent for willfulness. She wrote that she considered “Marvell’s level of culpability and … an amount its business is able to sustain with its ongoing operations.”

That brings the total to $1.53 billion.

Judge Fischer also imposed post-judgment interest of 0.14 percent and an ongoing royalty of 50 cents per infringing chip sold in the future.

A Marvell spokeswoman could not be immediately reached. Attorneys for both sides have said that many aspects of the trial, damage award and post-trial rulings will be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which reviews patent law decisions.

Judge Fischer noted in prior rulings that Marvell used the technology to bring in $10.34 billion in revenue and $5.05 billion in profit.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published April 1, 2014 9:10 AM

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