Marvell Slapped Around in Court


Semiconductor maker Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) has been ordered by a Pittsburgh jury to pay Carnegie Mellon University $1.17 billion in a patent infringement suit. The jury's verdict is subject to post-trial motions and appeals, so the outcome is far from decisive.

Still, the jury's award is larger than the $1.05 billion that a California jury demanded that Samsung Electronics pay Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) for infringing mobile phone technology. Marvell was found to have infringed on a Carnegie Mellon patent on a technology to improve the "signal-to-noise" ratio when retrieving data from a hard drive. Marvell has sold billions of chips using the technology without a license to do so, according to the jury.

Because the jury's verdict essentially accuses Marvell of willful infringement, the judge may triple the amount the company must pay. At the end of its most recent quarter, Marvell reported about $2 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments.

Shares fell about 10% yesterday, closing at $7.40 in a 52-week range of $7.05 to $16.86. Marvell's shares are down about 2.6% in the premarket this morning, at $7.21.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Law, Semiconductor, Semiconductors, Technology Tagged: AAPL, MRVL