Chipmaker Marvell told to pay $1.88b in patent case

NEW YORK (AFP) - Semiconductor firm Marvell Technology Group has been ordered to pay $1.54 billion (S$1.88 billion) for patent violations in a case brought by Carnegie Mellon University.

In a decision late Monday, US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer increased the award, which was set at US$1.17 billion by a jury in December 2012.

The company said Tuesday it would appeal the decision.

Marvell, which is registered in Bermuda and operates from northern California, was accused of having violated CMU patents on technology that increases the accuracy of reading data from high-speed magnetic disks.

A statement by the company, however, said that the university's "theoretical methods" described in its patents "cannot practically be built in silicon even using the most advanced techniques available today, let alone with the technology that was available a decade ago when Marvell allegedly first used the methods in question." It added that Marvell and its semiconductor subsidiary "use their own patented read channel technology that was developed in house."

The company said it would argue "that the patents at issue are invalid, (and) that even if valid, Marvell did not infringe." It also will argue that the court erred in its calculation of damages.

Marvell said the judge denied a motion by CMU that would bar the company from selling the chips in question. But it will have to post a bond of US$1.5 billion while the appeal is pending.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, university in March 2009.

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