Marvell May Pay $3.5 Billion for 'Willfully' Infringing Patent

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A federal-court jury in Pittsburgh has found in favor of Carnegie-Mellon University in a patent infringement case against computer-chip maker Marvell ( MRVL).

The jury decided that Marvell infringed on a number of patents concerning computer hard drives. It awarded the university $1.17 billion in damages.

And if that's not bad enough, the jury decided that Marvell willfully infringed upon the patents, which means the school might be due a lot more. If so ordered, Marvell might have to pay triple damages, or $3.5 billion in fines.

For those keeping track, that's a larger sum than Apple was awarded (nearly $1.05 billion) in its landmark case against Samsung -- a jury decision still being fought in the courts. Two big jury verdicts of the past, such as Alcatel-Lucent ( ALU) vs. Microsoft ( MSFT) ($1.52 billion) and Centocor (now Janssen Biotech) vs. Abbott Labs ( ABT) ($1.67 billion), were overturned on appeal.

As expected, Marvell has released a statement saying it plans to appeal the jury's decision.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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