Carnegie Mellon asks court to triple Marvell's $1.17 billion fine

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Carnegie Mellon University has asked a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania court to triple the $1.17 billion patent infringement fine levied against Marvell in December -- an outcome that would dwarf the record-setting $1.05 billion ruling in last August's Apple versus Samsung case.

CMU, which filed suit in 2009 over two hard drive patents used by Marvell, alleges that the chipmaker knew it was wrongfully infringing the university's intellectual property so it should pay up to three times more than the $1,169,140,271 it's already supposed to fork over.

Additionally, CMU has requested $321.8 million in pre-judgment interest for the stretch between March 2003 and January 14 (when jury's verdict was formally recognized), compensation for its legal fees, as well as a permanent injunction against the infringing Marvell parts.

The final ruling is expected to be made by US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer on May 1. Regardless of Fischer's decision, Marvell may wait for an appeal hearing before opening its purse, as the company's regulatory filings don't mention that it's saving cash for the penalty.

The patents in question (6,201,839 and 6,438,180) describe "noise predictive technology" that increases the speed by which circuits in hard drives read data from magnetic disks. During the trial, Marvell deemed those patents invalid because a Seagate patent (6,282,251) filed 14 months prior to one of CMU's holdings describes everything covered by the university's supposed innovations. Unconvinced, the jury found Marvell guilty of selling 2.34 billion chips with the technology without a license from CMU.

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