When a company invents a new product, the first step is to obtain a patent. While the patent secures the inventing company's right to the property, enforcement of those rights is still required. That is why when a competitor makes, uses or sells a patented product without the patent holder's permission, it is imperative that intellectual property protection is pursued quickly and very aggressively. Colorado readers might find the following article on a recent intellectual property dispute interesting.
According to recent news reports a judge awarded Carnegie Mellon University more than $1.5 billion in a long-standing intellectual property dispute with Marvell Technology Group Ltd. According to news reports, Carnegie Mellon sued Marvell Technology for infringing on a patent it held for a particular chip it produced for computer hard drives. According to the suit, the patent was filed in 1998 and came from the work of a Carnegie Mellon Professor and former Carnegie student.
In 2012, a jury found in favor of the Pittsburgh-based university, holding Marvell Technology liable for willfully violating the patent that belonged to the school. Carnegie was was asking for the damages awarded by the court to include interest from both before and after the judgment was entered. In the end, the $1.54 billion was based on the judge's decision that Carnegie is entitled to post0judgment interest and royalty payments but denied requests for additional damages and injunctive relief.
Patent litigation is incredibly complex. If successful, however, the patent holder could collect a significant amount of compensation. If the patent holder does decide to sue an infringing party they can also request an injunction to stop the infringing party from manufacturing or selling the particular item. In most cases where infringement is alleged, however, the alleged infringer will typically counter the allegation that they infringed on the patent by challenging the validity of the patent in question.
Source: Chron, "Judge awards CMU $1.54B in Marvell patent dispute," April 1, 2014