Marvell fails to void $1.17 billion U.S. verdict, chipmaker may owe more

Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:09pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Marvell Technology Group Ltd failed to overturn a $1.17 billion jury verdict for infringing two hard disk drive patents held by Carnegie Mellon University, and a federal judge said the amount may grow because the infringement was willful.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer in Pittsburgh, where Carnegie Mellon is based, denied Marvell's requests for a new trial or a reduction in damages, and by finding willful infringement subjected the chipmaker to possible triple damages. She said she would issue a decision on damages later.

Fischer faulted Marvell's "all or nothing" strategy of not offering evidence about its business or pricing strategies that could have led to lower damages, despite having for a decade produced technology it knew might been covered by the patents.

"While the court acknowledges this award is large, the facts show that the infringement was long and sustained," Fischer wrote in a 126-page decision. "CMU has shown by clear and convincing evidence that Marvell acted in disregard of an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent."

She added that "while Marvell may believe the court's purportedly flawed legal analysis precipitated its defeat, it is the undersigned's impression as a judge and former trial lawyer that Marvell's bad facts and even worse litigation strategy was fatal to its cause."

A jury in Pittsburgh awarded the damages in December. The initial award is the third-largest in U.S. patent litigation since 1995, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a June study.

Marvell shares were down 2.5 percent at $12.14 on Monday afternoon on the Nasdaq.

A Marvell spokesman said the decision "is not a real surprise," and that the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.   Continued...