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Marvell Technology Fined $1.5 Billion for Patent Infringement

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A US court has ruled that US chip maker Marvell Technology Group will have to make a payment of USD1.5 billion to the Carnegie Mellon University for infringing two of its hard disc patents.

The University had been seeking double that amount, but the judge, while imposing a fine large enough to act as a deterrent, decided against the much higher amount as it was felt that the company could be bankrupted.

Judge Nora Barry Fischer write that "This award is sufficient to penalise Marvell for its egregious behaviour and to deter future infringement activities,"

The high damages were due to he finding that Marvell Technology had deliberately infringed the patents in question rather than doing so by accident.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) contended -- and the jury agreed -- that Marvell infringed CMU patents relating to fundamental technology for increasing the accuracy with which hard disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks.

Through its verdict, the jury found that Marvell had sold around 2.3 billion chips incorporating the technology between 2003-12 without a license to do so. Marvell contended that its chips did not use CMU's technology and that CMU's patents were invalid but the jury disagreed.

The court has already ruled that the USA based chipmaker has to make a payment of USD1.17 billion to the Carnegie Mellon university back in late 2012. Although willful infringement could have seen the damaged tripled, the Judge agreed to just a modest increase in the fine.

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Tags: marvell technology  USA