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Symantec of California hopes to lower patent infringement damages

The maker of the Norton antivirus software, Symantec Corp, of Mountain View, Calif., lost its battle with Intellectual Ventures in a patent infringement case. A federal jury decided that Symantec had to pay $17 million in damages after finding that two out of three claims of patent infringement were valid.

Intellectual Ventures had initially sought $298 million in its suit against Symantec for allegedly infringing upon patents in its security software for email and Internet use. Lawyers for Symantec had tried during the pre-trial period to prevent Intellectual Ventures from asking for hundreds of millions of dollars when it was defending patents that it reportedly spent less than $1 million to acquire. This bid was unsuccessful, but a spokesperson for Symantec was somewhat satisfied that the jury had awarded a far smaller figure than the original demand. Even so, Symantec representatives still plan to consider options that could further reduce the $17 million figure.

Intellectual Ventures is one of the world's largest owners of patents, gaining a reputation for suing companies for infringement. Symantec had been one of two companies in a recent spate of infringement suits that went to court instead of negotiating a settlement.

Intellectual property, such as copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks, plays an increasing role in technology-based business. Companies and inventors both need to defend their intellectual property from those who would copy it and profit by it and defend themselves from attacks by patent and copyright holders claiming infringement. The legal issues around the protection of intellectual property can become complex. Seeking the advice of an attorney familiar with intellectual property in dispute situations may help someone take decisive action and protect profits from unfair competition.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. court orders Symantec to pay $17 mln for patent infringement," Andrew Chung, Feb. 6, 2015

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