IPOs, Initial Public Offerings: pre & post IPO

Juniper vs Palo Alto Networks

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In December 2011, Juniper Networks, Inc. filed a lawsuit against PAnet in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging that PAnet’s appliances infringe six of its U.S. patents.

If Juniper prevails in the litigation, PAnet could be required to pay substantial damages for past sales of any infringing appliances, enjoined from manufacturing, using, selling, and importing such appliances.

One or both of Nir Zuk and Yuming Mao are named inventors on each of the patents being asserted against us. Both Mr. Zuk and Mr. Mao were employed by NetScreen Technologies, Inc., which was acquired by Juniper in April 2004.

Mr. Zuk left Juniper in 2005 and founded Palo Alto Networks in that same year. Mr. Mao joined Palo Alto Networks in 2006.

On February 9, 2012, PAnet filed an answer to Juniper’s complaint, which denied infringement on Juniper’s patents and asserted that Juniper’s patents were invalid.

On February 28, 2012, Juniper filed a motion to strike the defense of invalidity based on the legal doctrine of “assignor estoppel.”

Under the doctrine of assignor estoppel, an inventor of a patented invention who assigns the patent to another for value cannot later challenge the validity of the patent.

Under some circumstances, courts have held that the doctrine of assignor estoppel applies not only to the assigning inventor but also to a company in privity with the inventor.

On March 23, 2012, PAnet filed a brief in opposition to that motion. Juniper filed a brief in response on April 2, 2012.  PAnet filed a motion for leave to file an additional response on April 25, 2012, and Juniper filed a brief in opposition to that motion in response on May 4, 2012.

On or before June 11, 2012, Juniper must provide its infringement contentions by identifying which of PAnet’s appliances it contends infringe which of the asserted patents. On or before July 11, 2012, PAnet must provide its invalidity contentions.

If Juniper’s motion to strike is granted with respect to some or all of the patents at issue, PAnet would not be able to argue in the District Court that the patents as to which the motion to strike is granted are invalid.

On or before June 11, 2012, Juniper must provide its infringement contentions by identifying which of PAnet’s appliances it contends infringe which of the asserted patents. On or before July 11, 2012, PAnet must provide its invalidity contentions.

A claims construction hearing, also known as a Markman hearing, as well as motions for summary judgment, are scheduled to be heard on November 11, 2013, and a trial date has been scheduled for February 24, 2014.

The February 2014 trial will be limited to determining whether the patents are valid and whether PAnet infringes some or all of those patents. Thereafter, the Court will rule on any post-trial motions and enter a judgment on validity and infringement.

According to the Court’s general standing order, if Juniper were to prevail on one or more of its patents, a subsequent trial on damages would be scheduled following an appeal on the liability issues to the appellate court.

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