Veeam Declares Victory in Symantec Patent Battle

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2015-05-13 Print this article Print
tech patents

The legal dispute over alleged patent infringement appears to be settled, as the USPTO has deemed the patents Symantec tried to assert against Veeam are invalid.

Data center availability and backup vendor Veeam today announced that it has been successful in defending itself against claims alleged by Symantec over patent infringement. In total, Veeam has been able to get seven Symantec patents to be deemed as invalid.

"In February 2012, Symantec filed its first patent infringement lawsuit against Veeam and in October 2012, Symantec filed a second patent suite," Doug Hazelman, Veeam's vice president of Product Strategy, told eWEEK. "At the time, we felt that that the lawsuit was without merit, and here we are three years later and we have successfully worked with the courts and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office [USPTO] to review the patents."

The USPTO has deemed that the patents Symantec tried to assert against Veeam are invalid, effectively ending the case, according to Hazelman. From Symantec's perspective, there might still be some future for the action.

"Symantec is aware of the patent office ruling," a Symantec spokesperson told eWEEK. "We will continue to consider all of our legal options to protect our intellectual property."

While the legal battle with Symantec has been ongoing since 2012, Hazelman emphasized that it did not have any negative impact on Veeam's business. Veeam is now double the size it was in 2012 when the suit was first filed, he said.

Veeam reported its first quarter fiscal 2015 results on April 30, claiming that the company now has 145,500 customers globally. Throughout the ordeal, Veeam's customers were indemnified against any potential legal repercussions of the patent suit.

While Symantec pursued Veeam in the courts, Veeam isn't currently seeking to go after Symantec for damages.

"We're just happy that the USPTO decided to rule in our favor in terms of invalidating the patents," Hazelman said. "Other negotiations might be ongoing, but I can't comment on them."

According to Veeam, the USPTO invalidated the Symantec patents as they were found to be "obvious or anticipated by prior art." Hazelman said he's not a patent lawyer, but in general the patents all had to do with backup technologies, including snapshotting and running a virtual machine as a way to back-up. The seven Symantec patents that were deemed as invalid are U.S. Patents #7,831,861; 7,024,527; 8,117,168; 7,480,822; 7,093,086; 6,931,558; and 7,191,299.

Veeam has a number of patents of its own. Hazelman said Veeam to date has not decided to go after anyone for patent violations.

"Since we do have a patent portfolio, that's an option we have," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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