Marvell Loses Bid to Slash Patent Mega-Verdict

, The Litigation Daily

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Law gavel on a stack of American money.
Law gavel on a stack of American money.

Lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan keep hitting a brick wall in their efforts to undo—or at least reduce—a whopping $1.17 billion damages verdict against their client Marvell Technology Group in a patent battle with Carnegie Mellon University.

The wall in this case is U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer in Pittsburgh, who refused on Tuesday to cut $620 million from the award. The decision comes after Fischer denied Marvell's request to declare a mistrial in August and declined to grant a new trial in September.

In her ruling this week, the judge agreed with Marvell that CMU had "unreasonably and inexcusably" put off filing its lawsuit for nearly six years. But she also agreed with the university and its lawyers at K&L Gates that Marvell failed to prove the company suffered economic prejudice as a result of CMU's delay.

"After carefully considering all of the parties’ arguments and the evidence of record, the court finds that the equities clearly favor CMU, which acted negligently in delaying to enforce its patents against Marvell, rather than Marvell, which copied CMU’s patents consciously and deliberately for an entire decade," Fischer concluded.

CMU originally sued Marvell in March 2009, accusing the semiconductor company of infringing two CMU patents related to methods of reading data from disk drives. The university won its sweeping $1.17 billion jury verdict in December 2012, prompting us to name Douglas Greenswag and Patrick McElhinny of K&L Gates Litigators of the Week.

Judge Fischer's decision leaves pending CMU's motion for enhanced damages. The judge could potentially triple the jury's award because Marvell was found to willfully infringe CMU's patents.

Neither McElhinny nor Marvell counsel David Radulescu of Quinn Emanuel was immediately available to comment on Wednesday.

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