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Cisco ordered to pay out billions for cybersecurity patent infringement

(Image credit: Flickr / Prayitno)

Networking giant Cisco has been ordered by a US court to pay almost $2 billion in damages for infringing cybersecurity-related patents.

According to a report from The Register, the firm was found guilty of infringing four separate patents held by security company Centripetal Networks, as well as putting the rival firm out of contention for lucrative government contracts.

The patents in question relate to areas such as the speed and scalability of network protection systems.

According to the report, Centripetal Networks discussed the technology with Cisco back in 2016, under a non disclosure agreement (NDA). However, a year later Cisco integrated the technologies into its own product lines.

Centripetal Networks originally sued Cisco for $756 million, but the judge saw the infringement as “willful and egregious”, so multiplied the fine by 2.5x to a total of $1,889,521,362.50.

“The fact that Cisco released products with Centripetal’s functionality within a year of these meetings goes beyond mere coincidence,” said District Judge Henry Morgan.

“Cisco continually gathered information from Centripetal as if it intended to buy the technology from Centripetal,” but then “appropriated the information gained in these meetings to learn about Centripetal’s patented functionality and embedded it into its own products.”

The court has also ordered Cisco to pay a royalties of 10 percent on some of its products for the next three years, and of five percent for the three years after that. The royalty payments are required to fall between $168m and $300m for the first three years, and between $84m and $150m for the next three.