Carnegie Mellon seeks up to triple damages in Marvell patent case

Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:54pm EST
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By Erin Geiger Smith

(Reuters) - Carnegie Mellon University is asking a court to make Marvell Technology Group Ltd pay up to three times the $1.17 billion jury verdict that the chipmaker was ordered to pay in December for patent infringement.

The university filed papers Monday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, saying Marvell knew it was using Carnegie Mellon patents wrongfully and should pay up to triple damages as a result. Carnegie Mellon also is seeking $321 million in pre-judgment interest.

In its filing, Carnegie Mellon noted that the judge has discretion on how to calculate any enhanced damages, and could award less than triple the jury's award.

Marvell, whose chips are used for reading and writing data on hard-disk drives, is seeking to overturn the jury's findings that it infringed two Carnegie Mellon patents. The award is one of the biggest by a U.S. jury in a patent case and follows the $1.05 billion that Apple Inc was awarded against Samsung Electronics in a case over smartphone design last August.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer has set a May 1 hearing to consider final judgment in the Marvell case.

Marvell did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. Attorney Mark Knedeisen of K&L Gates, who represents the university, declined to comment.

Carnegie Mellon sued the chipmaker in March 2009 over patents issued to the university in 2001 and 2002. The Pittsburgh university said at least nine Marvell circuit devices incorporated the patents, and that the infringement let the company sell billions of chips using the technology without permission.

In Monday's court papers, the university argued that Marvell knowingly and repeatedly copied the university's patents. A finding that a defendant acted willfully in patent cases allows a court to impose damages of up to three times the jury verdict.   Continued...