RealTime IT News

Court Upholds Juniper Patent Victory

Patents can sometime be a murky business, where one vendor unknowingly infringes on a patent holder's intellectual property. Apparently that's not the case in the four-year-old legal suit between consumer electronics giant Toshiba and networking gear vendor Juniper Networks.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judge Sue L. Robinson has upheld an August 2006 decision, which ruled that Juniper did not infringe on four networking patents held by Toshiba.

"We are pleased with the decision of the Federal Circuit in affirming the District Court's ruling that Juniper does not infringe the Toshiba patents," Juniper spokesman Roger Fortier said in a statement e-mailed to InternetNews.com.

Toshiba had argued that Juniper had infringed on four of patents awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):

  1. U.S. Patent 5,835,710 -- "Network interconnection apparatus, network node apparatus, and packet transfer method for high speed, large capacity inter-network communication."
  2. U.S. Patent 6,598,080 -- Has the same title as the first and relates to a similar invention.
  3. U.S. Patent 6,343,322 -- "IP over ATM system using control messages to set up cut-through paths or bypass pipes in routers."
  4. U.S. Patent 6,341,127 -- "Node device and method for controlling label switching path set up in inter-connected networks."

Toshiba's appeal of the 2006 decision against it was based on a dispute about how the district court had interpreted 12 "claim constructions" in the four patents.

The court in its ruling examined four of the claim constructions and made its decision based on its analysis of the terms. Those terms include layer, available for receiving [transmitting] a packet, logical network, and policy information indicating a permitted neighboring node/network from which a packet transfer by the label switching.

"We find no error in the district court's four claim constructions," the court ruling states. According to a Juniper statement regarding the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] settlement, Juniper settled without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC's complaint and no financial penalties were assessed.

"Juniper Networks has agreed to settle the charges by consenting to a permanent injunction against any future violations of the antifraud, reporting, books-and-records and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws," a Juniper press release stated.

It's been a busy period for Juniper on the legal front.

The networking vendor last week settled with the SEC on an investigation of its stock option granting practices. Juniper had been under investigation since August of last year. In March it completed its own financial restatement and its CFO resigned.