Today a Pittsburgh jury ruled that hard drive control chips made my Marvell Semiconductor infringe on two patents owned by Carnegie Mellon University. After a 4 week trial in federal court nine jurors unanimously agreed that Marvell should pay the full sum that CMU’s lawyers asked for which is $1,169,140,271 in damages. Of course the verdict has to hold up on appeal, but if it does it will be the largest patent verdict in history, beating out the $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for infringing patents own by Apple. This will also wipe out a year of profits at Marvell, which made a little over $900 million in 2011.
flickr / BestBoyZ GmbH
The two patents in question descibe a way of reducing noise when reading information off a hard disk. The verdict stands that Marvell chips infringe claim 4 of Patent No. 6,201,839 and claim 2 of Patent No. 6,438,180.
Court documents show that Marvell sold 2.34 billion chips using this technology between 2003 and 2012 according to a report in the Tribune Review.
It will be interesting to see if the verdict will hold up upon appeal.