A jury in U.S. District Court in San Francisco awarded Finjan Holdings (FNJN) $15 million in damages after finding that Sophos Inc. infringed five patents related to cybersecurity.
The verdict was handed down after a two- week long trial before Judge William Orrick that ended yesterday. The jury did not find that Sophos had willfully infringed which could have tripled the award.
This is Finjan’s second enforcement win this year and follows a $39.4 million award it won in an action against Blue Coat Systems. Blue Coat is appealing that award.
East Palo Alto, California-based Finjan filed the action against Sophos in March 2014.
"They've established themselves as credible patent enforces, which is impressive in this market considering how much trouble other licensing companies have had," said Mark Gober, a senior director at 3LP Advisors, in the IP advisory firm's Silicon Valley office.
Gober said like the Blue Coat award, the Sophos award is likely to be appealed. He said whether Finjan prevails will depend on its expectations and those of Sophos and Blue Coat.
He added that Finjan's success in enforcing cybersecurity patents, which are software related patents, is all the more remarkable given the effect of the Supreme Court's Alice ruling two years ago. The high court held that software that is based on an abstract idea applied to a computer doesn't qualify for patent protection.
"Cybersecurity patents are hot right and Finjan is a leader in that area," he said.
Shares of Finjan gained 12 cents or 6% to $2.05 in afternoon trading. They’ve traded between 81 cents and $2.35 over the past year.
Finjan CEO Phil Hartstein said the jury awarded a unanimous verdict in the case that goes beyond the technology that Finjan invented and the infringement by Sophos.
"This is a result of a long standing dispute with Sophos and resided on the credibility of how Finjan handled the merits of the case as well as its presentation of the facts to the jury," he said.
"For the Finjan brand, now celebrating its 20th year in operation, credibility is paramount as we continue licensing our foundational cybersecurity patents and grow through continued development and launching of new security products and services."
Finjan has pending infringement lawsuits against FireEye Inc., Symantec Corp., Palo Alto Networks., Blue Coat Systems, and ESET and its affiliates relating to, collectively, more than 20 patents in the Finjan portfolio.
Representatives of Sophos and its counsel John Alcock, a partner with DLA Piper LLP (US) in San Diego, couldn’t be reached for comment.
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