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Jury Hits Marvell With $1 Billion+ Fine Over CMU Patents

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the billion-with-a-b dept.

Google 167

Dupple writes with news carried by the BBC of a gigantic tech-patent case that (seemingly for once) doesn't involve Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, or Google: "'U.S. chipmaker Marvell Technology faces having to pay one of the biggest ever patent damage awards. A jury in Pittsburgh found the firm guilty of infringing two hard disk innovations owned by local university Carnegie Mellon.' Though the company claims that the CMU patents weren't valid because the university hadn't invented anything new, saying a Seagate patent of 14 months earlier described everything that the CMU patents do, the jury found that Marvell's chips infringed claim 4 of Patent No. 6,201,839 and claim 2 of Patent No. 6,438,180. "method and apparatus for correlation-sensitive adaptive sequence detection" and "soft and hard sequence detection in ISI memory channels.' 'It said Marvell should pay $1.17bn (£723m) in compensation — however that sum could be multiplied up to three times by the judge because the jury had also said the act had been "wilful." Marvell's shares fell more than 10%.'"

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Go Go Alma Mater (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403253)

Now stop asking me for money.

Re:Go Go Alma Mater (3, Funny)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about 2 years ago | (#42403299)

No shit, they should dedicate a whole new building to Marvell Technology, with special thanks to the jury members. It would of course be known as the M.T. Building for short. - HEX

Re:Go Go Alma Mater (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#42403609)

This pretty much makes CMU a patent troll. The $billions offered just shows juries have no idea what they're doing in regards to patents. 2 claims across 2 patents = billions? That by itself is ridiculous.

Litigation lottery by a university is pretty despicable, though.

Re:Go Go Alma Mater (4, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42405123)

Did they just buy the patent? Nope - it was invented at CMU. Are they involved in lots of litigation? Nope - search for "CMU sues" and you come up with Central Michgan Univ, not CMU. Did they offer to license it on reasonable terms? Yes - Marvell refused.

Doesn't sound like a troll to me.

Re:Go Go Alma Mater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403549)

Knowing CMU it's more likely they'll sue you next.

Re:Go Go Alma Mater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404555)

The Apple and Samsung of the Educational Arena!

UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Unix.. (-1, Offtopic)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#42403815)

then Apple would've been trillions in debt; would be wonderful to watch the squirming execs defending copying valuable ideas and products for free; but patenting trivial stuff and charging billions.

By now we would've seen patent reform.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (3, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#42403853)

A story about CMU suing Marvell for patent infringement and you are blabbering about Apple? You should realize not everyone shares your off topic obsession.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (0)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#42403895)

A story about CMU suing Marvell for patent infringement and you are blabbering about Apple?

I'm not the one blabbering. If you'd cared to read the referenced article (I know, I know... it's a dirty trait over here); you'll see references to the Apple-Samsung patent case.

That leaves the recent $1.05bn jury award to Apple in its case versus Samsung as the largest outstanding figure - the judge in the case has yet to finalise the sum.

I was just wondering the fallout of the UC, Berkley having applied for, and gotten patents on implementations of their ideas in BSD Unix.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403861)

The BSD license and philosophy, I'm not sure you understand it...

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (0)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#42403959)

The BSD license and philosophy, I'm not sure you understand it...

I very well know that the BSD license is 'freer' and more permissive than the GPL, which was the motivation for Apple to steal BSD licensed code and close their additions to it. Totally antithetical to the BSD philosophy. But it would've been of educative value to lay people.They would understand how corporations are running away with the fruits of research work done by students, gratis... and patenting trivial additions, depriving the very same students of access to low cost products, because of these absurd patents. Corporates like Marvell and Apple would think 10 times before touching research projects, if the Universities take patents on students' research work.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42404373)

Im not sure its really possible to "steal" BSD code. Im no copyright lawyer, but if it were antithetical to the BSD philosophy, wouldnt the BSD license look a lot more like the GPL?

I think the BSD philosophy is essentially "heres some work we did, and anyone can do whatever they want with it."

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (1)

The Moof (859402) | about 2 years ago | (#42404721)

Im not sure its really possible to "steal" BSD code.

It sure is. You must leave the copyright notices and acknowledgement intact. In the event only a binary form is distributed, it must be present somewhere in the application/documentation (usually you find it buried in help documentation somewhere). Also, depending on the BSD license version, you also can't use the author/organization for marketing/endorsing/promotion without their permission.

Basically, the BSD licenses isn't so much dictating what can be done with the code, but to require giving credit to the programmer(s) who wrote the code. Well, besides the boilerplate "as-is" liability waiver in every license.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404425)

I very well know that the BSD license is 'freer' and more permissive than the GPL, which was the motivation for Apple to steal BSD licensed code and close their additions to it.

Editorialize much?
FYI Microsoft was Apple's inspiration for using BSD code as they were doing it long before Apple thought about it.
And tell me again how using something the author explicitly gives you permission to use, change, and keep stealing?

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (0)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#42404519)

And tell me again how using something the author explicitly gives you permission to use, change, and keep stealing?

It is stealing in the sense, Apple took away valuable stuff created by students at UC, Berkley without paying a cent for it, nor respecting the sentiment behind the creator's ideals.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#42404925)

Uhhh...kinda sad when the Windows guy understands licenses better than the FOSS zealots. First of all you CANNOT STEAL from BSD, the code is still there for all to use as they see fit, instead of sticking a gun to your head and forcing you to "share", second Apple has given back a hell of a lot more than they have taken out, such as CUPS and Webkit, again just as BSD intended.

Its actually quite simple, you want to lock something up in BSD land? Its not a problem but YOU are gonna be responsible for the fork you have just created, whereas if you CHOOSE to share your changes they can be incorporated into the mainline. Personally I find this to be much better that slitting the throat of the entire ecosystem because of the "blessed three" which is the only way to make money in Linux land. I of course am speaking of support, selling hardware, or the tin cup, which is why you don't see AAA games under FOSS or even a desktop that can compete with OSX, because too many niches aren't covered by the blessed three so you get half baked and poorly supported because there isn't any way to make money in all these areas not covered by the blessed three.

But am I the only one that finds it ironic as hell that when a FOSSie rails against BSD they sound almost exactly like the *.A.A copyright trolls? Its all about stealing and "protecting the rights",hell you could take any FOSSie railing against BSD and simply change a few words and you'd have a classic MPAA/RIAA rant, almost no effort required to switch between the two.

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (1)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about 2 years ago | (#42405015)

The BSD license and philosophy, I'm not sure you understand it...

I very well know that the BSD license is 'freer' and more permissive than the GPL, which was the motivation for Apple to steal BSD licensed code and close their additions to it.

Maybe you could clarify how Apple "stole" this BSD-licensed code; did they take a hard drive or CD/DVD which contained the only copy of the code?

If you're actually accusing them of infringing on the copyright, then you should just have said so. Though from reading the BSD license, it appears that Apple is in compliance.

IBM owned all those OS patents, and they expired. (4, Insightful)

emil (695) | about 2 years ago | (#42403899)

At least, in the opinion [blorge.com] of Linux Torvalds.

Torvalds pointed out that basic operating system theory was more or less set by the late 1960s.

“IBM probably owned thousands of really ‘fundamental’ patents,” he explained. ”The fundamental stuff was done about half a century ago and has long, long since lost any patent protection.”

Re:UC, Berkley should've patented ideas in BSD Uni (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about 2 years ago | (#42404797)

Is this statement in any way related to CMU's Mach kernel [wikipedia.org] used by Apple for OS X? That is, maybe the poster is musing that if the BSDs were not BSD-licensed, CMU could not have made Mach, and the only Apples in existence would be Mac OS 9 computers in museums?

But wouldn't a better post be along the lines of: what if CMU could somehow renege on the Mach kernel? Where would Apple be, then?

Re:Go Go Alma Mater (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about 2 years ago | (#42404211)

Time for us students to get a tuition discount?

What I've always wondered is how do they come up with these numbers. If the revenue raises by that number over adding the patented tech on the standard products, then it would be fair, as we are only taking the money the transgressor made. Potentially multiplying that by 3 as a deterrent for willful infraction seems also reasonable, else every company would then just infringe on the chance it does not get caught.

The article does mention 2.3 billion chips sold. That leaves us with a fee of $0.508 per chip sold. The number seems quite steep to me, since such a number seems to me probably closer to the retail price for the whole chip. Which is nuts... does anybody know how much revenue Marvell gets per chip?

Patent ware at the max ? (2)

jcdr (178250) | about 2 years ago | (#42403259)

Maybe still not enough to trigger any reaction ?

We will soon live in a world without any privacy, paying for everything, and where thinking is forbidden.
Money, money, money....

Still something to eat ?

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403419)

Maybe still not enough to trigger any reaction ?

Maybe not. But maybe this verdict is actually a valid one? Oh sorry, it's patents, it can only be litigation for the sake of pure evil...

We will soon live in a world without any privacy,

What does this have to do with patents?

paying for everything

I know you and others think that a world were everything is free is not only possible, but reasonable, but it does not work that way.

and where thinking is forbidden.

No one is stopping you from thinking. Certainly not patents. Unless of course you consider "thinking" == "producing and selling stuff"
I agree that software patents suck however.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#42403719)

Maybe not. But maybe this verdict is actually a valid one?

Use some common sense. That's $1.7B for two claims that make disk reads a little faster. That would mean that manufacturing entire hard drives, which contain thousands of "patentable" ideas, would be worth trillions of dollars, an amount comparable to the entire US gross domestic product.

Even if the law technically allows such a ridiculous outcome, that doesn't make the situation "valid".

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404051)

Indeed. Perhaps damages should be calculated via: 1/(total_number_of_pants_in_said_field)*profit_corp_derived_from_thing * 3 ?

In other words, if you made $100m building/selling thing that potentially involves 100 patents, then each patent's contribution to profit is ~$1m (more or less, yes, some patents are more important than others, etc.). So willful infringement would be 3x that, or $3m. (and obviously $0 if you didn't derive any profit).

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#42404439)

Or you could just negotiate with the patent holder for a reasonable price instead of making a jury determine the price. Or, if all the patents do is 'make reads a little faster', just don't include that functionality if the price is too steep.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404515)

The patents in question are invalid, that's the fscking point! They're predated with examples given. The fact a jury issues such ridiculous awards says the people are utter morons, and the US legal system is pathetic.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#42404581)

Neither of your options in any way justifies billion dollar awards for a couple of claims.

In fact, they just highlight why the awards should have been orders of magnitude smaller.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#42404775)

Getting caught breaking a law (which is what patent infringement is) is ALWAYS considerably more expensive than doing something legally. If it were not, there would be no reason to ever do things legally. For example, where I live it costs 25 cents to park on certain streets for 30 minutes. If you decide not to pay that quarter, it can cost you a $50 fine - 200x what it would have otherwise cost you.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#42404859)

So their award should have been the fair market price + $49.75.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42404393)

Money, money, money....

The last century called. They wanted to let us know that they tried communism, and it didnt work so well.

I tried to tell them about the various catastrophies they were in for, but they insisted that it was more important that we really understand that communism doesnt work.

Re:Patent ware at the max ? (2)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 2 years ago | (#42405091)

You should have just warned them that capitalism doesn't work either.

We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (3, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about 2 years ago | (#42403275)

Look at this graph [wordpress.com] , move the time scale forward and change 'hole left by Christian dark ages' to 'hole left by fear of patent infringement'.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403325)

Critical thinker unthinkingly accepts chart with made up numbers.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403435)

No no, if it is anti-religion, then you can accept it as fact. Excuse me, it's time for my daily reading of the Gospel according to Richard Dawkins.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42403473)

You and him both would have been burnt as heretics.

You didn't even have to be an atheist. All you had to do is fail to completely toe the party line. Any bible translation you own would also be enough to send you to the gallows.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403745)

I am the first AC. I do not question that the Catholic Church did a lot of bad things and things that were not remotely Christian. They stifled innovation and stopped dissenting opinion. Frankly, I don't want the Church to have direct political power ever again.

Yet the dark ages were not caused by Christians and the Church did not cause a worldwide halt to progress. And above everything else, the church softened the blow caused by the collapse of the Roman Empire. Had it not been for the Church, it is hard to say how bad it would have gotten, but it is almost certain that without the stabilizing force, more people would have died and there likely would have been even more factions killing each other off.

The OP is a mindless droid and that is what I was criticizing.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (3, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42403747)

Which, was entirely politics. If the state didn't have an interest in burning heretics, they wouldn't have been burnt. That's why today, you can still kill people for not following the party line even in atheistic systems.

And that graph is just a bad troll. There are so many levels to how absurd it is, that it would take all day to go through them. Of course, all I really have to point out is that there were no so-called Christian Dark Age in China, and they didn't fly to the Moon either.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#42404575)

Any bible translation you own would also be enough to send you to the gallows.

Only if you made it profitable or politically convenient to do so. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, more often found FOR the accused, IE 'They're NOT a witch', than for the accussers, who often did it against socially and politically vulnerable people in order to seize their assets.

Look at history. Galileo might of had trouble with the Church, investigated by the Roman Inquisition too boot, and he didn't end up burned. Heck, he wrote a piece that attacked the pope and was only forced to recant and stuck in house arrest. There's a lot of this through history. Kind of like today you could be pretty much anything you wanted as long as you were quiet about it. Don't attack the church or leadership. Go to church(don't have to agree, just shut up and go), pay the tithe, and most importantly, don't make waves. Galileo got into the trouble he did(but was somewhat protected) because he was a known respected auther.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403455)

Ah yes, because research has ever only been done by Europe and the US. And the massive amounts of patents in the "interstellar drive" segment of the tech industry sure must be daunting.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403611)

What, exactly, are the units on the vertical axis?

Where does the mathematical work done in the Middle East while Europe was snoozing a religious nightmare fit in there?

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403835)

Duh, technological units. Haven't you ever yoused a computer beefore?

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42403681)

you're an idiot

the Christian Dark Ages was a European event. China and the Middle East were the centers of science and learning at the time. China, The Eastern Roman Empire, Persia, the Arabs' conquered territories.

the reason for the dark ages was that hundreds of different tribes of "barbarians" conquered the western roman empire. once they settled down their traditions of dividing the lands among all the sons created a power vacuum as the kids would go to war with each other. mostly small minor wars that no one remembers anymore. add the vikings pillaging as well. it took a few hundred years for Charlemagne and other strong monarchs to emerge and even then the empire was divided into 3 parts which caused all the wars for the next thousand years

the Christian Church is kept some knowledge alive during these times. the kings and other nobles couldn't read and basic skills like reading, writing and making books was done by the Christian Church. these newly settled barbarians had no way to duplicate what the Romans had done. when the Turks had all but conquered the Eastern Roman Empire all the artists went to Europe to jump start the Renaissance

China was sailing most of the world by the late middle ages and it was a dumb chinese king that stopped it that allowed Europe to rise up.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403787)

The key word there, in the last sentence, is "stopped".

A "dumb king" has all but stopped space exploration by the US, and it looks like China will be sailing by once again.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42404003)

really? the dumb king stopped a pork project that's nothing but a jobs program for congressional districts

private space flight is here and the US is also quietly investing in it

NASA vs. military spending -- orders of magnitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404607)

Anyone who calls NASA a pork project is willfully ignoring the REAL pork project -- the entire US Military budget, both open and 'black'.

NASA's budget has never been more than what, 1%? (I'm sure you can look it up if you're that concerned about NASA's wastefulness) of the US military budget. NASA could overrun all of its projects by 1000% year after year and never even make a dent wrt. US military expenditures, were it to actually have access to that kind of money.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42405063)

I agree, private space flight is great news.

In defense of NASA, though, it produces some really awesome results, mostly in the form of scientific efforts and engineering that other organizations can't (or won't) do. For example, nobody else has managed to even come close to landing rovers on Mars. Sure, private ventures might eventually do that, but one thing governments can do that private companies can't is make investments that will take decades to pay off.

There are a lot of real pork projects to cut: fighters that never see combat, ships that the Navy isn't even asking for, etc, which cost far more than NASA ever did.

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (1)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about 2 years ago | (#42404475)

Do you know the difference between Chatholic and Christian? Also what is the point of renaming the "dark or middle ages" to have an anti christian theme?

Re:We Could Have Been Exploring The Galaxy By Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404951)

This is just a guess, but do Chatholics really like to talk?

Disney's regretting their decision. (1)

jennatalia (2684459) | about 2 years ago | (#42403283)

Stan Lee must be pretty pissed by now. Time to unleash the Juggernaut, bitch!

Kill competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403287)

Get rid of the patent system, it's a joke.

Re:Kill competition (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#42403535)

agreed. This is so dumb. Even if some little guy invents it the big guy comes in and buys it from him. It's a form of Monopoly. 'Merica use to care about those things, but I guess we don't anymore. Eventually it's going to be like 1 company that owns all the technology.

Re:Kill competition (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#42404501)

All restaurants are Taco Bell.

good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403337)

Marvell CEO Sehat Sutadja's car [flickr.com]

talk about classy. (!)

Re:good (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#42403351)

He deserves it. He's a "maker" and not a "taker."

haw haw haw

This just in: A Message From Comrade Obongo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403459)

He didn't build those chips.

-Comrade Obongo

Re:This just in: A Message From Comrade Obongo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403629)

Who needs no stinkin' context, eh AC?

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403843)

IIRC Marvell is a Californian company paying US taxes, and the guy that is a the top is so proud of what he has built or is part of that he has the company name on his car. Good on him.

Now they could be bust because of a crank patent lawsuit paying out 100x - 1000x the patent's worth, so the jobs will go, the leadership will go to China and the US will be poorer overall.

YEAH, PATENTS! GO GO GO!

Re:good (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 2 years ago | (#42405029)

Can't see shit in that picture except a license plate. I'm supposed to be outraged over a Ferrari? They aren't anywhere near the top of the supercar price list.

Software patens must die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403341)

They are evil and kills innovation, please kill them of

SSDs? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42403373)

So they claim Marvel make hard drives but since they don't, I take it they're talking about their SSD controllers? There's no way in hell they made a billion off that. Otherwise the article contradicts itself and says they instead supply parts for others to make spinning hard drives and gives a number. They said WD is their big customer but not sole customer so...Seagate sued their own supplier? Or they join sued or...I don't get it. Really nothing in this article makes sense. Does anyone have a link to a more accurate one?

P.S. after Marvel's long history of the world's worst ethernet controllers, they deserve this

Re:SSDs? (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#42403389)

Marvel VS. Patents: Fate of two systems

Re:SSDs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403421)

Marvell has made controllers for spindle-based HDDs for many, many years, both SAS and SATA. This press release is over 5 years old and mentions their existing use in SATA. Considering that there is a Marvell controller in 75% of the HDDs in use, I'd say they've made billions off of their chips. Whether they've made billions from the supposed patent infringement, I can't comment on.

Re:SSDs? (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#42403637)

Whether they've made billions from the supposed patent infringement, I can't comment on.

One thing is for sure - CMU never would have made a billion dollars by selling products containing their "invention". Even assuming the patent is worthy and that Imaginary Property deserves to exist, they never would have made anything near that amount by licensing the technology.

If they licensed the patent to Marvell for $1.5M the staff lawyers probably would have thrown a decent party.

Re:SSDs? (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#42403613)

Which article are you talking about? The one linked in the summary doesn't say anything of the things you said it did (it doesn't claim Marvell makes hard drives, doesn't claim they made a billion off of that, and doesn't even mention Seagate).

Re:SSDs? (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#42403715)

CMU is clearly a patent troll (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42403425)

do they make any products? they should just give up their patents for the good of the geeks

Re:CMU is clearly a patent troll (1)

archer, the (887288) | about 2 years ago | (#42403627)

If CMU invested capital in discovering/creating these innovations, they should get *some* return on their investment. Otherwise, they'll have to stop discovering/innovating because they can't afford it.

Re:CMU is clearly a patent troll (0)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#42403839)

Why are they entitled to a return? I invested in a number of things without a return.

Do we design entire systems where people are entitle to returns just because they invested in something?

Re:CMU is clearly a patent troll (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#42404561)

Returns are how you score the game. Or, to put it another way – is what you doing adding value or are you just blowing in the wind.

And if you have invested in things that don’t return returns I suggest that you are not investing – you’re doing something else. Doesn’t mean you doing things wrong – it’s just not investing.

Re:CMU is clearly a patent troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404117)

Can they claim that that research was fully privately funded and didn't involve any NSF grants, etc? And if they did use public moneh for the research, why should they be the only ones to benefit?

Re:CMU is clearly a patent troll (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#42404455)

If CMU invested capital in discovering/creating these innovations, they should get *some* return on their investment. Otherwise, they'll have to stop discovering/innovating because they can't afford it.

That's what I say too. For instance, All the people in the field researching the same technology should get *some* return on their investment from the newly granted patent holders who just prevented them from using their research. Otherwise, they'll have to stop discovering/innovating because they can't afford it, you know, because patents stifle progress as their core function. Why should any one group of researchers be granted a monopoly, simply because they're first? That's horrible thinking. What about they guy who showed up with a working telephone an hour after Alexander G. Bell did? He's now unable to even sell or USE the efforts of his own creation? Fuck. That.

Tell you what, I refuse to look at any software related patents because I make software. I'm an individual skilled in the arts just like all the other folks working in the field who get sued for patent infringement. If I stumble across an idea that makes sense while doing my job and it happens to infringe a patent, doesn't that make it fucking obvious by definition? Destroy All Patents. They're dumb as hell. Show me ONE Scientific report that shows patents as beneficial to our society vs not having patents... Guess what? NONE EXIST. We must abolish patents to do the experiment. We're running the whole world on UNPROVEN HYPOTHESES!?!

You humans are the worst. Can't even understand simple shit like the scientific method. You don't roll it out all over, you do so to a portion of the industries and then make a comparison.... What's that you say? The Automotive and Fashion industries are not allowed Design Patents, yet they are innovative in Design? So, let me get this straight... You ran the fucking experiment and IGNORED THE RESULTS!?! That's it. I'm disowning the entire human race. You fuckers might be related genetically to me, but you're sure as fuck not the same race as I -- You damn dirty apes! You've made monkeys of us ALL!

Re:CMU is clearly a patent troll (2)

damienl451 (841528) | about 2 years ago | (#42405017)

But you can also decide to forego this return on investment for the good of mankind. Which, arguably, is what universities should be pursuing in the first place, not trying to maximize their ROI, as private companies do very well.

Profits are very useful because you get valuable information about what you're doing and it allows resources to be put to the most valuable use. But it doesn't really apply to basic research. That kind of research is not meant to create products that can be sold for a profit, but to increase our collective knowledge. This may or may not give rise to new applications, technologies, and products, but that's not main point. And if something does prove valuable, wouldn't it be better if it were freely licensed to all interested parties to allow for cheap production, for other people to freely improve upon it, etc.?

That's the whole point behind endowments. Give universities so much money that their survival doesn't depend on their monetizing their discoveries. CMU has a $1 billion endowment that makes it very unlikely that it'll have to stop innovating because they failed to secure a patent on everything they discover. Especially since much of the research conducted in universities is actually funded by the government, as a public good.

Violating Single patent Claims? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42403441)

Individual patent claims are not sufficient to describe the scope of a patent. They only do so collectively. So, how is it that Marvell (or anyone else) can be held liable for violating a single claim?

Of course, I'm thinking of the infamous claim: "A microprocessor controller comprising memory, input-output and memory", which when added to prior art seems to create novel technology in the eyes of the USPTO. If one could violate a single claim, then this one alone would innovation in the computing field.

Re:Violating Single patent Claims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403657)

Generally, each claim stands on it's own. All it takes to be found liable for damages is infringement of a single claim. In fact, some patents will issue with merely a single claim. As for the infamous claim: "A microprocessor controller comprising memory, input-output and memory" I'm not aware of that particular claim, but I highly suspect it is invalid unless it is a dependent (e.g. 2. A microprocessor controller of claim 1 comprising memory, input-output and memory. -- where novelty is in claim 1). It's not uncommon to see extremely broad claims that have no hope in hell of actually being allowed in published patent applications. But, assuming the Patent Office does it's job (a big assumption) such claims won't actually survive prosecution and end up in the allowed patent.

Re:Violating Single patent Claims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403659)

Thank you for mentioning this. The summary does make it sound like a claim of "where the sky is blue" would include all inventions under the sky, comprising mostly of nitrogen.

Re:Violating Single patent Claims? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 years ago | (#42403955)

You're clearly confused about what a claim in a patent is. Each claim of a patent is considered to be a separate invention, although you can have dependent claims (e.g. "The system of claim 1 where..."), which would include everything from the claim that it depends on, in addition to what is in the dependent claim. "A microprocessor controller comprising memory, input-output and memory" could never be an entire claim, unless you really were the first person to invent the microcontroller. Things like "processor" or "memory" might be parts of a claim, called elements or limitations.

punishment (0)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#42403483)

What's with this urge to punish? What has Marvell done that's so evil? Other than being a powerful US corporation, that is.

A good system would not be so punitive. And the application is so arbitrary and uneven. It isn't even clear that any crime was committed at all, and levying harsh punishments in such situations is just plain evil. I'll whip up a car analogy: two people are arguing over who owns a car and go to court. The court orders that the car be destroyed, and for good measure, that their driveways be ripped up. Then one of the disputants is ordered to buy a new car for the use of the other, and if unable to pay, is forced to sell their house. Which one pays for the new car for the other is determined by coin flip. That'll learn them! Wouldn't be long before that court withered into irrelevance as everyone avoided it like the plague.

If we had a decent patronage system in place, CMU would like it that someone is using ideas they researched, as they could apply for funds from the various patrons, and Marvell and anyone else could use any ideas they wanted without having to get permission or worry about some confused, crazy jury slamming them with a disproportionate "remedy".

Re:punishment (3, Informative)

Ifthir (1446587) | about 2 years ago | (#42403607)

What's with this urge to punish? What has Marvell done that's so evil? Other than being a powerful US corporation, that is.

They made billions of dollars off the patents of others and didn't pay appropriately to the patent holders?

Re:punishment (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#42403817)

Thing is, making money is how for-profit entities operate. Non-profits, like CMU, get grants and patronage. I admit, without a proper patronage system, which the GP suggests, CMU is frequently going to come up short on funds, especially if they want to expand and improve their research abilities. That does not mean, however, that making a lot of money means that it's okay to punish a for-profit business for taking that idea and making profit on it without being just a little critical of the system that expects research universities to provide public research, while at the same time, feeling the need to cash in on what the for-profit producers do with it.

Re:punishment (1)

Christian Smith (3497) | about 2 years ago | (#42404111)

What's with this urge to punish? What has Marvell done that's so evil? Other than being a powerful US corporation, that is.

They made billions of dollars off the patents of others and didn't pay appropriately to the patent holders?

Seagate? I haven't penetrated the patent speak of the patents in question, but the 839 patent looks suspiciously similar to the Seagate patent referenced. This is just an example of courts and expensive lawyers doing the job that should be done up front by the US patent office, ie. looking for and evaluating prior art.

Patent awards should be (as I understand it) compensated on what the plaintiff would have made had the infringement not taken place (lost sales or licensing fees). I would be very surprised if CMU had made $1bn off any licensing program, let alone 2 patents to a single licensee, so I fail to see how such a large reward could be made.

IANAL etc.

Re:punishment (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 2 years ago | (#42404239)

What's with this urge to punish? What has Marvell done that's so evil? Other than being a powerful US corporation, that is.

They made billions of dollars off the patents of others and didn't pay appropriately to the patent holders?

I would hope that a judge/jury would only be able to award punitive damages if the plaintiff provided convincing evidence that the defendant willfully and knowingly violated the plaintiff's patents.

What has Iron Man done now ? (0)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#42403515)

Am I the only person who thought this article was about Marvel Comics, and wondered what they could do to get a billion dollar patent judgement against them? A patent on rocket-propellled iron suits?

Re:What has Iron Man done now ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403593)

Hurr hurr hurr.

Don't quit your day job.

Marvell, Disneyy, Pixxar, Lucassfilm... (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42403663)

How would it feel to score a million dollar software patent judgment against Pixar and Lucasfilm?

Given just the titles of those claims, (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 2 years ago | (#42403841)

The idea of a jury of non-engineers deciding on their novelty is at best weird.

Re:Given just the titles of those claims, (5, Insightful)

Yabol (970939) | about 2 years ago | (#42404021)

The idea of a bunch of people from Pittsburgh voting to not give CMU a bunch of loot is at best weird.

Re:Given just the titles of those claims, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404363)

Marvel should have used the Chewbacca defense. If the jurors DIDN'T fall for it, that would be at best weird.

Pity the jury (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42403897)

Just listen to the language used to describe the innovative aspect of the two claimed patents and think how few people have the brainpower to even understand what they are talking about so that they could figure out how the claimed patents relate to a prior patent. After many years playing at the intersections of hardware and firmware and software, I know I couldn't. Yet our system empowers a bunch of non-EEs to decide matters on which billions hinge. Crazy. But what is a better system, letting experts onto the jury? Been there recently and how did that turn out?

In Pittsburgh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404149)

Doesn't having the court case in the university's hometown, where they have a hand in a lot of pockets, seem like a conflict of interest? Not that I don't expect an appeal anyway.

Interview with Marvell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404169)

So that's why my interview with Marvell was suddenly canceled...

-CMU student

Another (better?) article on Ars (3, Interesting)

BillX (307153) | about 2 years ago | (#42404391)

Ars has another article [arstechnica.com] ; this one actually cites the patent numbers and specific claims found to be infringing.

Reading one of the claims, I can't imagine how a jury of Joe Sixpacks could possibly come to a rational conclusion on whether or not infringement occured. I'm an EE and it's gibberish to me without putting some significant Google-time in. Claim 4 of US6201389, for example:

"4. A method of determining branch metric values for branches of a trellis for a Viterbi-like detector, comprising:

        selecting a branch metric function for each of the branches at a certain time index from a set of signal-dependent branch metric functions; and
        applying each of said selected functions to a plurality of signal samples to determine the metric value corresponding to the branch for which the applied branch metric function was selected, wherein each sample corresponds to a different sampling time instant."

Re:Another (better?) article on Ars (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#42404725)

This sort of stuff is why I'm inclined to believe Marvell's claims that the earlier Seagate patents cover their devices, rendering the University's claims void.

Beside that, I'd tend to assign the value for the 'innovations' at around a dime to penny per device, making the 'value' of the infringement more in the low to mid millions.

Consider that a lot of HD's go for ~$40, and that the controller chip is only part of that system. Say $10. Given that the patents are for incremental improvements, that's like $.10 or less per chip.

Especially if they licensed the seagate patents, that would remove the 'willful' claim.

simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404941)

I can't imagine how a jury of Joe Sixpacks could possibly come to a rational conclusion on whether or not infringement occured. I'm an EE and it's gibberish to me

Easy, if an Electrical Engineer sees it as gibberish then it is non-obvious. The company's defense is that the patent was invalid. Since it is provable it is valid and their defense has failed to meet the burden of proof it was found to be infringing.

Re:simplicity (3, Interesting)

BillX (307153) | about 2 years ago | (#42405093)

Not really; an EE will see it as gibberish because this is a software algorithm patent. The fact that someone outside of the relevant field can tell it is outside their field does not make it novel. For all I know, this is an obvious and everyday implementation as viewed by satellite communications, compression or similar folks (or hard drive seek algorithm designers), but not to any old engineer (let alone any old Joe Sixpack). Which is exactly my point - a jury of randoms trying to decide a field-specialized patent case are no better than a bag of dice.

Great.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404503)

A U.S. University trying to put a U.S. Technology company out of business. Way to go guys. There aren't too many U.S. Technology companies left, and this is why.

We are putting ourselves out of business!

Patent System Kills Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404525)

I will not be releasing any of my inventions to the world...

The patent system is a joke.

Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404549)

Maybe they will stop making lame super heroes movies.

WTF? I've been reading Marvell comics since 1968 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404605)

And now CMU claims they were the first to think of artificial wall climbing technology?

Jury Nullification (2)

drfuchs (599179) | about 2 years ago | (#42404719)

It's simply the jury's emotional response to the death of Peter Parker.

So the Google icon is for...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42404809)

Dupple writes with news carried by the BBC of a gigantic tech-patent case that (seemingly for once) doesn't involve Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, or Google:

But we're still going to use the Google icon for this story because, y'know, they've probably done SOME sort of evil, we don't know. They have ADVERTISEMENTS, for crying out loud! Evil! EEEEEEEVIL!!!

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