Can Marvell’s Balance Sheet Withstand This Charge?

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Shares of the chipmaker Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL) have continued to fall since a Pittsburgh jury awarded Carnegie Mellon University $1.17 billion in damages in a patent infringement suit. As Lazard Capital Markets analyst Daniel Amir told Reuters, the decision will create an “overhang” on the company’s shares until the case is resolved, which could take years because Marvell plans to challenge the ruling.

Why has Marvell chosen to challenge the verdict?

On Wednesday, Marvell was found to have sold billions of dollars of semiconductors based on technology invented at Carnegie Mellon without a license. The damages, which surpassed those awarded to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) over the summer, are some of the largest ever imposed in a patent infringement case.

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As a result of the ruling, shares declined by 11 percent and closed at $7.40, close to the stock’s 52-week low of $7.05.

During the trial, Marvell contended that it had not violated the university’s patents because similar systems had been created before the institution filed for its patents, and now the company seeks to overturn the verdict during post-trial proceedings in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. The post-trial hearings, which are scheduled to begin in May of next year, could also see the damages tripled since the jury found that Marvell’s patent infringement had been “willful.”

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