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Gen Digital must pay Columbia U nearly $500M for willful patent infringement, judge rules

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that Gen Digital, the software company formerly known as NortonLifeLock, must pay Columbia University more than $481 million in a patent lawsuit over cybersecurity technology. The ruling more than doubled the jury’s previous damages award.

Last year, a jury found that Gen Digital owed Columbia $185 million for infringing on two Columbia patents, and that two Columbia professors should be listed as inventors on a certain Gen Digital patent related to decoy technology for baiting viruses.

In her recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Hannah Lauck said the $185 million award should be multiplied after Gen Digital had willfully infringed the patents with its antivirus software and other cybersecurity products.

The judge also held the attorneys from the law firm representing Gen  Digital — Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan — in contempt, saying that they failed to comply with a court order to disclose communications from an unfavorable witness whom the firm blocked from testifying in trial.

In a court filing, Columbia claimed that Gen Digital and Quinn Emanuel made false statements about former Gen Digital executive Marc Dacier’s willingness to testify after he informed Columbia that he had first-hand knowledge of facts relevant to its case.

The university also accused the company of other legal misconduct including an “exceptional pattern of meritless arguments.”

After last year’s verdict, Columbia asked the court for increased damages based on Gen Digital’s alleged misconduct and willful infringement. Lauck said the sanction of the attorneys included a “negative inference of egregiousness regarding any unproduced communications” for the purpose of Columbia’s request.

Gen Digital and Quinn Emanuel said they strongly disagree with the ruling and will appeal. A spokesperson for Columbia declined to comment.

Source: Reuters

In Calculating Economic Damages in IP and Patent Infringement Cases, 2nd Edition, you’ll find strategies, analysis, case studies, and legal insight to help you calculate and recover the maximum damages incurred due to patent infringement.

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