Marvell Technology has been ordered by a federal jury in Pennsylvania to pay $1.17 billion in damages to Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The lawsuit was filed in 2009 claiming that Marvell HDD controller chips infringe two CMU patents that describe a way of more reliably reading information off HDDs.
Since 2003, over 2.34 billion hard disks hit the market that infringe on these two patents owned by the university. If the verdict holds up on appeal, it will be the largest patent verdict in history.
A Pittsburgh jury found that hard drive control chips made by Marvell Semiconductor infringe two patents owned by Carnegie Mellon University. Following a four-week trial in federal court, nine jurors unanimously held that Marvell should have to pay $1,169,140,271 in damages—the full sum that CMU's lawyers had asked for.
If the verdict holds up on appeal, it would wipe out more than a year of profits at Marvell, which made a bit over $900 million in 2011. It would also be the largest patent verdict in history, beating out this summer's $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for infringing patents and trademarks owned by Apple.