twolverton@mercurynews.com

SANTA CLARA -- Shares of Marvell Technology plunged Wednesday after the company was hit with a $1.17 billion verdict in a patent case.

A jury in Pennsylvania found that Marvell had infringed patents held by Carnegie Mellon University. Worse yet for Marvell, the jury found that the semiconductor company's conduct was willful, which could allow the judge in the case to impose damages that are three times the jury's verdict.

Marvell's stock closed regular trading down 85 cents, or 10 percent, to $7.40. Its shares were off another 21 cents, or 2.8 percent, in after-hours trading.

"We take special pride in this trial victory," said Peter J. Kalis, chairman of K&L Gates, the law firm that represented Carnegie Mellon.

Representatives for Marvell did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The patents at issue in the case covered technology used in hard-disk drives. The technology allows chips to more accurately read data stored on high-speed drives. The jury found that Marvell, which has its headquarters in Santa Clara but is legally based in Bermuda, had used the patented technology in billions of its chips without licensing it from Carnegie Mellon.

The case was heard in Pittsburgh's U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.


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Contact Troy Wolverton at 408-840-4285. Follow him at Twitter.com/troywolv.