Jury says NortonLifeLock owes Columbia U. $185 million over cybersecurity patents

REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Summary
  • Law firms
  • Related documents
  • Norton products used Columbia antivirus technology, jury said
  • Jury called infringement willful, award could be tripled

(Reuters) – A jury in Virginia federal court on Monday said cybersecurity company NortonLifeLock Inc must pay New York’s Columbia University $185 million for violating its rights in two patents related to fighting malware.

The jury also found that Norton, formerly known as Symantec, infringed the patents willfully, which could lead a judge to boost Columbia’s award to as much as $555 million.

A spokesperson for Tempe, Arizona-based Norton said the company disagreed with the verdict and plans to appeal. Columbia University intellectual property official Orin Herskowitz said in a statement that the school was pleased that the court had recognized the violation of its rights to “groundbreaking computer security innovations.”

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Columbia sued Norton in the Richmond, Virginia court in 2013, accusing its antivirus software and other security products of infringing six patents related to intrusion-detection systems.

The jury said Monday that Norton infringed two Columbia patents that remained in the case after an earlier appellate court ruling. Norton also induced its customers to violate one of the patents, and owed more than $185 million in royalties to cover sales of infringing products, according to the verdict.

The jury also ruled that two Columbia professors should be listed as inventors on a Norton patent related to decoy technology for baiting viruses. Columbia said it had disclosed research about the technology while collaborating with Norton on bids for government grants, and that Norton had used the information to apply for the patent.

The case is Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York v. NortonLifeLock Inc, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, No. 3:13-cv-00808.

For Columbia: Garrard Beeney and Dustin Guzior of Sullivan & Cromwell; and Dana McDaniel and John Erbach of Spotts Fain

For Norton: Doug Lumish, David Callahan and Michael Morin of Latham & Watkins; and Dabney Carr of Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders

Read more:

Symantec, Columbia University split win on malware patents

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

Read More

Laine Antes