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Judge Denies Juniper Motion for Infringement Against Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks said on Thursday that a judge for the District of Delaware rejected Juniper Networks’ motion for summary judgment of patent infringement, and granted in part several Palo Alto Networks' motions for summary judgment of non-infringement based on the doctrine of equivalents.

The Santa Clara, Calif-based network security company also said that it “received favorable decisions on claim construction with regard to the patents-in-suit.”

"We believe the ruling is consistent with our position that we do not infringe these patents," said Mark McLaughlin, chief executive officer of Palo Alto Networks, in a statement.

"From the outset, we said we would vigorously defend the Company against Juniper's lawsuit,” McLaughlin said. “Our business has always been focused on delivering unique offerings for our customers. We remain committed to defending our products against unwarranted claims of patent infringement. We look forward to proving at trial that we do not infringe the Juniper patents."

While Palo Alto Networks is presenting today's outcome as positive, the company still must face patents in a trial and can't argue that they are invalid.

“We are extremely pleased with the opinion issued by the Delaware court today," a statement sent to SecurityWeek from Juniper Networks said. "The judge granted Juniper's motion for summary judgment on assignor estoppel on all asserted patents. The significance of that ruling is that Palo Alto Networks (PAN) will not be able to claim that the patents are invalid. Additionally, the judge rejected PAN's requests to dismiss Juniper's seven patents from the case, holding that Juniper may present its claims to the jury on all patents. Juniper intends to continue vigorously defending and protecting against the willful infringement of its intellectual property, and we look forward to our upcoming day in court.”

The lawsuit is pending in the US District Court for the District of Delaware and was filed by Juniper Networks in December, 2011.

The Court's decision follows a hearing held in November 2013.

A trial date is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2014.

Shares of publicly traded Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) were up more than 10 percent on the news, at $66.08 per share at the time of publishing.

*Updated with statement from Juniper Networks

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.