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Marvell, Apple, Toledo Public Schools: Intellectual Property

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. said it will seek to overturn a $1.17 billion jury verdict for infringing integrated-circuit patents held by Carnegie Mellon University.

A federal jury in Pittsburgh on Dec. 26 hit the maker of chips for computers and mobile phones with the fourth-largest U.S. patent verdict ever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. All three verdicts larger than the one against Marvell were reversed on appeal.

Marvell doesn’t use the technology at issue and “there are strong grounds for appeal,” Marvell, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, said in a statement yesterday. The company will file post-trial motions to overturn the verdict, and if necessary appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., according to the statement.

The jury found Marvell’s infringement willful, providing a basis for U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to increase the award by as much as three times, according to a statement by K&L Gates LLP, the law firm representing the university. Tripling the award would make it the largest ever in a patent case.

Marvell said in yesterday’s statement it hasn’t recorded any liability on its financial statements for the lawsuit.

“In assessing the impact of this jury verdict on its financial statements, Marvell will review the verdict, evaluate the post-trial motions, and evaluate the likelihood of a successful appeal,” the company said.

Carnegie Mellon sued over use of the two patents, issued in 2001 and 2002, that cover ways to detect data stored on a computer’s hard-disk drive by filtering out noise or unwanted electrical signals. The school in a March 6 complaint said at least nine types of Marvell’s circuits use its inventions.

“We are gratified by the jury’s unanimous verdict,” Ken Walters, a spokesman for the school in Pittsburgh, said in an e-mailed statement. “This case deals with fundamental technology for increasing the accuracy with which hard-disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks.”

Apple Gets Patent on Process Used to Make Curved Glass

Apple Inc., maker of the iPad and iPhone, has received a patent on a method of making curved glass.

Patent 8,336,334, which was issued Dec. 25, covers a process for molding glass at a high temperature in such a way that the glass is able to bend around the mold.

According to the patent, Apple’s process is an improvement on previous methods of glass formation that left molded glass with flanges on the edge that had to be removed, adding cost to the product.

Glass formed using this process can be used for glass covers for small electronic devices such as mobile phones. It can also be used for larger devices such as televisions or personal computers.

Cupertino, California-based Apple applied for the patent in March 2009, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Apple General Counsel Gets $69 Million for Litigation Leadership

Managing Apple Inc.’s patent litigation brought General Counsel Bruce Sewell $69 million in compensation for the fiscal year that ended in September 2012, according to a regulatory filing for the Cupertino, California-based company.

This is in contrast to Sewell’s 2011 $1.41 million compensation, the filing revealed.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s 2012 pay package totaled $1.36 million salary and $2.8 million in incentive plan compensation. His big payday came the previous year with $378 million, one of the biggest pay packages on record, boosted by $376.2 million in stock awards that he’ll get over a decade.

Intel Gets Patent on Safety Feature for Hand Held Game Devices

Intel Corp., the Santa Clara, California-based chip manufacturer, received a patent on a technology that could help prevent some accidents caused by too-vigorous players of computer games.

Patent 8,333,661, issued Dec. 18, covers a gaming system with a built-in alarm. According to the patent, the game console could contain sensors that detect the bodily movement of the user and the proximity of surrounding objects.

According to a 2007 story in PC Magazine, a number of accidents have occurred in the past from too-vigorous use of the Wii game controller made by Nintendo Co. They include smashed television screens, broken blades for ceiling fans, holes punched in walls and black eyes or bruises for onlookers when the user accidentally loses control of the device.

Intel’s newly patented technology would cause the hand-held device to emit an alarm when it is too close to an object.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel applied for the patent in March 2011. For more patent news, click here.

For trademark news, click here.


Downloading for Personal Use Still Permitted in the Netherlands

The Netherlands’ house of representatives rejected proposed legislation that would ban downloading of content for personal use, the TorrentFreak anti-copyright news website reported.

Kees Verhoeven, a member of the house, said that while a ban on downloading doesn’t solve the problem of unpaid downloads, it could lead to other problems such as a restriction of the privacy of individual users, TorrentFreak reported.

Copyright owners are presently compensated for the downloading through a so-called “piracy tax” on blank media, according to TorrentFreak.

That taxing system was extended in October to cover a wider range of media-storage devices such as smart phones, USB drives, tablets, personal computers and laptops, TorrentFreak reported.

School District Settles Publisher’s Copyright Infringement Suit

Toledo Public Schools has settled a copyright infringement suit brought by an Ohio-based publisher.

Align Assess Achieve LLC of Worthington, Ohio, sued the school district in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, in January 2012. The publisher claimed the school district made electronic copies of books and other materials aimed at helping teachers meet the state’s curriculum standards.

According to court papers, although the district had a limited license for the use of the content, it engaged in “massive infringement” by hiring teachers to spend their summer break transcribing the content and inputting it into a computer system.

The publisher claimed that the district bought fewer than 10 copies of any of its works, “apparently for the sole purpose of stealing and widely distributing the materials.”

Align had asked the court for a ban on further unauthorized use of its content and money damages.

According to the case file, the dispute is settled. The Toldeo Blade reported yesterday that the Board of Education agreed to buy $38,400 worth of books, with additional damages including the publisher’s attorney fees for a total of $59,600.

A second infringement suit, this time against the Urbana City Schools, was settled in September, according to court files. Terms of that settlement weren’t disclosed.

The case is Align Assess Achieve LLC v. Toledo Public Schools, 2:12-cv-00016-ALM-MRA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio (Columbus). The other case is Align Assess Achieve v. Urbana City Schools, 2:12-cv-00131-MHW-MRA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio (Columbus).

For more copyright news, click here.

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