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Judge denies mistrial in Marvell patent infringement

By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday denied Marvell Technology Group Ltd's request to declare a mistrial in a patent infringement case in which a jury awarded $1.17 billion in damages to Carnegie Mellon University.

Carnegie Mellon sued Marvell in March 2009 over patents issued in 2001 and 2002 related to how accurately hard disk- drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks.

The Pittsburgh-based university said at least nine Marvell circuit devices incorporated the patents, and that the infringement let the company, which is based in Hamilton, Bermuda, sell billions of chips using the technology without permission.

The damages award in December 2012 was one of the largest by a U.S. jury in a patent infringement case, following a $1.05 billion award months earlier to Apple Inc against Samsung Electronics Co concerning the design of smartphones.

Marvell asked the judge to declare a mistrial, among other post-trial requests. It argued Carnegie Mellon's lawyer made improper, misleading and prejudicial comments during closing arguments that "inflamed" the jury.

But U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer in Pittsburgh federal court disagreed with the company.

"Marvell, in throwing old and new grievances at the court under the guise of prejudice, is trying to do what it could not do at trial: convince the court to throw out this case and hope that a second time around will be more successful," Fischer wrote in a 31-page opinion on Friday.

A Marvell spokesman said the company would appeal the decision to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington.

The judge has not ruled on a request by Marvell to reduce the damages.

A representative of Carnegie Mellon could not be immediately reached on Friday.

The case is Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group Ltd et al, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, No. 09-00290.

(Corrects headline and first paragraph to show judge denies request for mistrial)

(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan)

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