Cornell Bests HP in Patent Case

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Hewlett-Packard does not agree with a jury's decision last week to pay damages to Cornell University for infringing on a patent, but the company declined to say Thursday if it will appeal the case.

HP was ordered to pay Cornell damages of US$184 million in the case involving a patent that boosts computer speed by enabling more efficient data processing.

Cornell had sought $575 million from HP for profits it made using the patent in sale of computers, including servers and workstations, between 1996 and 2006, when the patent expired. The case was filed in 2001 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

"We respect the jury's decision, though we don't agree with it," said an HP spokeswoman. "HP and Cornell have maintained a strong relationship over the years, and we look forward to renewing that strong relationship."

Cornell is happy with the outcome, but if HP appeals the decision, it will continue to fight, said Edward Poplawski, a lawyer for Sidley Austin LLP, a law firm representing Cornell.

The patent HP infringed on, patent number 4,807,115, is based on an invention by Cornell professor Hwa Torng in 1982. The patent application was filed in 1982 and issued in 1983.

The patent enabled processors to handle multiple instructions at the same time and reduce data dependency between instruction sets. Processors originally handled instructions one at a time and each instruction set was dependent on the next, but Torng's invention cut that bottleneck, which helped speed up computers.

HP, the world's biggest PC vendor, generated $28.3 billion in sales in the most recent quarter.

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