Cisco To Appeal Against Billion Dollar Patent Ruling

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Networking giant found guilty of infringing four cybersecurity patents and ordered to pay $1.9 billion, but it will appeal

Cisco has suffered a legal setback after a judge in the United States ordered it to pay $1.9 billion over a patent infringement lawsuit.

On Monday Cisco had been found guilty by US District Judge Henry Morgan in Norfolk, Virginia, of infringing four patents belonging to Virginia-based Centripetal Networks Inc.

Centripetal had accused Cisco of infringing five of its patents, but Judge Morgan after a month-long none-jury trial, found no infringement of a fifth patent, Reuters reported.

No close call

Judge Morgan also seemed to be fairly damning in his verdict, after he said in his 167-page decision, that the case was “not a close call.”

Judge Morgan also reportedly cited inconsistencies in Cisco’s evidence and that its own technical documents, many of which Centripetal itself introduced at trial, “proved Centripetal’s case.”

Judge Morgan then ruled that Cisco must pay $755.8 million in actual damages suffered by privately held Centripetal multiplied by 2.5 to reflect Cisco’s “willful and egregious” conduct, plus prejudgment interest.

This makes a grand total of $1.89 billion.

“Cisco did not advance any objectively reasonable defenses at trial” as to the four patents, Morgan was quoted by Reuters as writing in his judgement.

“The infringing functionality was added to their accused products post June 20, 2017, and resulted in a dramatic increase in sales which Cisco touted in both technical and marketing documents,” he added.

But Cisco has responded and said it was disappointed with the decision, “given the substantial evidence of non-infringement, invalidity and that Cisco’s innovations predate the patents by many years.”

Cisco now plans to appeal to the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Innovation win?

For Centripetal, which was founded in 2009, the judgement is a victory.

The firm specialises in using threat intelligence software and firewall hardware to protect cyber networks.

“With this judgement, the court rejected the primitive doctrine that might makes right,” Paul Andre, a lawyer for Centripetal, reportedly said in a statement. “This is a significant win for all small, innovative companies.”

Last November Cisco filed lawsuits against three former staff members who left the networking giant to join one of its competitors.

It alleged the three men stole thousands of pages of trade secrets, when they joined a rival firm called Poly.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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