Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) filed a law suit against Palo Alto Networks this week with a complaint of patent infringement.
According to Juniper’s complaint, at issue are six patents including: U.S. Patents #8,077,723 ; 7,779,459; 7,650,634; 7,302,700; 7,093,280 and 6,772,346.
“The innovations of these patents are, among other things, important for efficiently protecting computer networks from dangerous incoming communications and from individuals attempting to gain unauthorized access to computer networks,” Juniper’s complaint states.
The complaint goes on to note that Palo Alto Networks was founded by several former high-level employees of Juniper including Nir Zuk and Yuming Mao.
“Zuk and Mao are acutely aware of the patents-in-suit and the significance of the patented inventions to firewall technology because Zuk and Mao personally worked on the technology when they were executives at NetScreen Technologies, the predecessor to Juniper’s current security business unit,” Juniper’s complaint states.
Juniper acquired NetScreen in 2004 for $4 billion. Juniper’s complaint goes on to allege that Zuk and Mao incorporated that same technologies they learned about while at NetScreen and Juniper. As Palo Alto Networks, Juniper complaint alleges that the two former Juniper employees are using Juniper’s own patented technology to compete against Juniper.
Palo Alto disagrees with Juniper’s position.
“Juniper Networks’ claims are without merit,” said Michael Lehman, chief financial officer at Palo Alto Networks in a statement. “We intend to vigorously protect our intellectual property, and will let the litigation take its course.”
Juniper is seeking a jury trial in the case and is seeking damages from Palo Alto.
“Juniper focuses on delivering breakthrough innovations for our customers,” David Shane, vice president, Corporate Communications at Juniper Networks in a statement sent to InternetNews.com. “As a leading high-performance networking company, we will take every appropriate measure to defend and protect our innovation.”
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.