A10 Networks enjoined from selling ADCs infringing Brocade patents

  • Jim Duffy (Network World)
  • 11 January, 2013 21:59

A San Jose federal court has permanently enjoined A10 Networks from selling server load balancers that infringe on patents belonging to competitor Brocade, underscoring $60 million of a $112 million verdict awarded to Brocade last August.

The court enjoined A10 from "making, using, selling, or offering to sell in the United States, or importing into the United States any AX series application delivery controller that includes features that infringe" on these asserted claims. A10 has also been ordered to notify all distributors, customers and third-parties that have ordered, received or purchased AX ADCs about the order within 10 business days.

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A10 says existing customers and users can continue to use and receive support for their current AX products. The company also says it has completed development and testing of applicable, non-infringing elements, and will ship AX series products with the redesigned software immediately.

A10 is also appealing the jury's verdict and the damages awarded. The court denied A10's motion to vacate the liability and damages awarded on Brocade's copyright infringement claim, but noted that it granted A10's motion for a new trial on patent damages and rejected Brocade's request for a broad injunction on the basis that it "overreaches."

"The Court instead entered a narrowly-tailored injunction against certain products," A10 said in a statement. "The Court explicitly held that '[c]ustomers of A10 who have already purchased and continue to use infringing AX Series devices shall not be affected by this injunction.'"

That new trial will determine the amount of patent and punitive damages from the infringement, according to Brocade, and could make up most of the difference in the original $112 million verdict.

On Aug. 6, 2012, a jury in the case of Brocade v. A10 Networks found for Brocade on four claims of patent infringement involving technologies for Global Server Load Balancing and High Availability and found that the A10 AX Series line of load balancers infringe on these specific patents. The jury found A10 liable for copying Brocade code used in Brocade's ServerIron products; misappropriation of four trade secrets involving techniques used in ServerIron; and unfair competition based on interference with the contract of an engineer while he was employed at Foundry Networks, which Brocade acquired in late 2008.

"We appreciate the Court's careful attention to the evidence and its willingness to enforce important intellectual property rights," said Tyler Wall, vice president and general counsel at Brocade, in a statement. "The jury found A10 guilty of broad-based intellectual property infringement and unfair competition. We are very pleased that this permanent injunction will stop A10 from unlawfully using Brocade's patents."

A10 said the ruling will have no material negative impact on its business or financial strength. It also says the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has rejected the Brocade patents in question, and that the Federal Circuit will take that into account upon A10's appeal.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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