Cisco Ordered to Pay $1.9bn for Security Patent Infringement

Cisco has been ordered to pay $1.9 billion to a little-known threat detection company who accused it of infringing several cybersecurity patents.

US District Judge Henry Morgan issued his verdict in Norfolk, Virginia after a month-long trial held without a jury due to COVID-19.

He found Cisco had infringed four patents belonging to Herndon, Virginia-headquartered Centripetal Networks, with no action take regarding a fifth, according to Reuters.

“Cisco did not advance any objectively reasonable defenses at trial,” Morgan reportedly wrote in his 167-page decision. “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.”

The $756 million in actual damages suffered by Centripetal was apparently multiplied by 2.5 in light of this “wilful and egregious” conduct by Cisco, with pre-judgement interest also added.

Cisco is set to lodge an appeal with the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. It claimed to have provided “substantial evidence of non-infringement, invalidity and that Cisco’s innovations predate the patents by many years.”

However, the judge said the decision was “not a close call,” and that in some cases even Cisco’s own technical documents proved Centripetal’s case.

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

The Virginian security firm’s current product line-up is based on the RuleGate threat intelligence gateway platform, which it says offers a 1000-fold improvement on legacy offerings such as next-gen firewalls.

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