The smartphone industry is caught in a maelstrom of patent litigation, with Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and other major companies entangled in a complex matrix of lawsuits. But other parts of the tech world also have their woes. A federal court has just ordered Marvell to pay $1.5 billion to Carnegie Mellon University over two hard-disk patents. The judge in case slammed Marvell with “enhanced penalties” for deliberately infringing on Carnegie’s intellectual property.

This is a bit of a jackpot for Carnegie Mellon, which has an endowment of just $1.37 billion. The university has an illustrious information technology R&D history — it was one of the first six institutions to gain a .edu URL.

Marvell’s entire market cap is currently under $8.2 billion, so the size of the penalty is very meaningful for the company. Of course, the dispute is now heading to an appeals court, which is going to evaluate the merits and the size of the judgement.

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