In the latest round of the increasingly bitter patent battle, Israeli security company Finjan has asked a US court to stop its rival Secure Computing from selling one of its most popular products.
Finjan has claimed since the battle came to court last year that two products, Webwasher (now prefixed as ‘Secure Web’) and the obsolete CyberGuard TSP firewall, infringe three of its patents. Earlier this month, a jury agreed with Finjan, which left the District Court of Delaware judge to award the company a 16 percent levy on Secure’s sales of Webwasher up to September 9 2007, and half that on CyberGuard TSP up to June 2006.
Now Finjan wants the court to go further by issuing a permanent injunction to stop Secure selling the disputed products at all. Digging the boot in further, it also wants up to three times the rate of damages previously awarded, plus interest, and has demanded that Secure pay all court costs.
“With these motions, Finjan is requesting the Court to include an accounting of infringing sales not considered by or available to the jury,” Finjan said in an official statement.
Secure Computing had fought Finjan’s claims, filing two patent patent claims of its own, both of which were rejected in the recent judgement. The company will now appeal to higher courts.
But Secure is far from down and out in a legal wrestling match that’s rapidly turning into a battle of crocodile meets alligator.
"We do not believe that we infringe any of Finjan's patents, and we believe Finjan's patents are invalid," said Mike Gallagher, a Secure Computing's senior vice president, in an official statement.
According to a statement from Secure Computing, CyberGuard was no longer a current product, so the injunction would hit only one product of note, Webwasher.
"We will oppose all efforts by Finjan to limit the availability of Webwasher”, he added. “We do have plans in place to address the specific functions that Finjan has targeted that will allow us to continue to sell and support Webwasher in any event," he said, perhaps mindful of the need to appear conciliatory to the judge.
The company, meanwhile, is to proceed with its own patent suit based on an unspecified load balancing feature allegedly being used by the Israeli outfit. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, the US patent system emerges as flawed once again while the lawyers are the real winners.
Secure Computing acquired CyberGuard in August 2005, after an earlier approach from CyberGuard to buy Secure Computing, which the latter rejected. The core of the latest patent dispute seems to have started with that rather odd reverse acquisition – CyberGuard also brought with it Webwasher.