Judge rejects California firm's bid to overturn $1.1 billion verdict in CMU case

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A company that infringed upon a Carnegie Mellon University technology patent, and was slapped last year with a $1.169 billion jury verdict for it, doesn't deserve a new trial, U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer wrote in a 126-page opinion issued today.

Marvell Technology Group and CMU faced off in a two-day post-trial hearing in May, in which lawyers for the Santa Clara-based company argued that the jury's verdict was legally unsound. They also told Judge Fischer then that the largest patent infringement damages verdict in the country last year was out of line with the evidence.

The jury found in December that Marvell willfully used 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.

Judge Fischer said the jury's verdict was the natural result of Marvell's strategy, in which it "left the jury in a tough spot, with no reasonable options for a damages award other than $250,000 or $1.169 billion."

She noted that Marvell used the technology to bring in $10.34 billion in revenue and $5.05 billion in profit.

She denied the vast majority of Marvell's motions but left a handful of motions -- plus CMU's motion for even more damages -- for a later opinion.

The verdict is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which reviews patent law decisions.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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