Feeds

Marvell: NO WAY should we have to pay jumbo $1.54bn patent judgment

Tells appeals court Carnegie Mellon Uni patent ruling was result of 'series of legal errors'

Fabless semiconductor firm Marvell has fired the opening volley in its appeal of the record-breaking $1.5bn judgment against it in its ongoing patent dispute with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

"No patent infringement judgment for more than a billion dollars has ever received this Court's imprimatur, and the $1.535 billion judgment here should not be the first," the company's lawyers said in a filing with the US Federal Circuit Appeals Court last week.

Marvell has been locked in what has mostly been a losing battle with CMU ever since the university first brought suit against it in 2009.

At issue are two US patents – numbers 6,201,839 and 6,438,180 – that describe technologies used to improve the accuracy of data read from hard disks.

In its suit, CMU alleged that Marvell shipped some 2.3 billion chips that incorporated those inventions between 2003 and 2012, when US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer ruled in the university's favor.

The judge slapped Marvell with a whopping $1.17bn bill as a result of the infringement, and although the chipmaker sought to have the judgment reduced, it was ultimately raised by another $370m in punitive damages in April 2014, after Judge Fischer found that Marvell had "wilfully" infringed CMU's patents.

In its 75-page appeal filing and 360-page addendum, paper copies of which were delivered to the court on Tuesday, Marvell reiterates its earlier claims that CMU's patents are invalid and that the judgment against it is the result of a series of legal errors by the district court.

The chipmaker argues that its silicon couldn't have infringed CMU's patents because the patents in question merely describe theoretical algorithms that are "incapable of commercial implementation in a semiconductor chip."

In fact, Marvell claims, CMU approached at least 11 companies about potentially licensing these exact patents between 2003 and 2005, yet all declined, citing prior art. Intel, it says, wouldn't even license them for a flat fee of $200,000.

Marvell further argues that even if the judgment of infringement stands, the court's $1.54bn award is way out of line. That figure is based on a valuation of $0.50 for every chip Marvell sold during the disputed period, it says, even though there's no evidence that CMU ever licensed its patents on a per-unit basis, rather than for a flat fee.

The chipmaker also notes that the judgment is based on its total worldwide chip sales, when the majority of those parts were manufactured, sold, and used exclusively overseas, outside the jurisdiction of US patent law.

Finally, Marvell argues that the court should reduce the award by a minimum of $620m, owing to the fact that CMU waited six years before notifying Marvell of possible infringement. And because it had ample reason to believe that CMU's claims were invalid to begin with, Marvell says, the court's award of additional damages for willful infringement should also be vacated.

CMU has yet to file a formal response to Marvell's claims in the appeals court, but in the past it has said that it was "gratified" by the district court's ruling and the resulting award of damages. ®

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.