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CMU requests $210M more from jury award over chip patent

| Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Carnegie Mellon University on Monday asked a federal judge to increase a $1.17 billion jury award against a Bermuda-based chip manufacturer by at least $210 million.

A nine-member federal jury in December ruled in favor of CMU's claims that Marvell Technology Group Ltd. infringed on two patents the university holds for noise detection technology used in computer hard drives. The jury adopted the university's claim that the company owed it 50 cents for each chip it sold with the technology since 2002.

The university filed four motions Monday that include a request that U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer rule that the company “willfully” infringed on the patents, which would allow her to increase the damage award by any amount up to triple the $1.17 billion figure.

The university's lawyers declined to comment on the motions. A Marvell spokesman and Steve Madison, one of the lead attorneys representing the company, couldn't be reached for comment.

In the same court documents, the university contends it will likely never collect the full amount because Bermuda doesn't automatically recognize civil judgments made by United States courts, so it will have to ask a Bermuda court for the damages.

CMU also claims that while Marvell has $2 billion in cash and short-term investments, it has refused to set aside any money to pay a final damage award in the case. At the same time, CMU claims, the company has been using its liquid assets to buy back stock and issue, for the first time, dividends to its shareholders.

The university on Monday also asked Fischer to award interest on the damages that would add $210 million to $322 million to the award depending on which method the judge used to calculate interest.

The university is also seeking $18.3 million in attorney fees and is asking the judge to permanently ban Marvell from selling the chips to hard drive companies in the United States and award it 50 cents to $1.50 on each chip the company sells while the motions are pending.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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