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Juniper to Pursue Lawsuit vs. Palo Alto Networks After Mistrial

A federal court jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision, but Juniper officials say will press their patent case against Palo Alto.

A hung jury in the high-profile legal battle between Juniper Networks and Palo Alto Networks does not mean the case is going away.

Soon after the U.S. District Court jury in Delaware failed to reach a unanimous verdict and the judge declared a mistrial, Juniper executives indicated that they intend to press the allegations that Palo Alto infringed on Juniper patents when developing its next-generation firewall technology.

In a statement to journalists after Judge Sue Robinson declared the mistrial March 7, Juniper officials said the company "brought the suit in order to protect our intellectual property and investment in innovation; while we wish this jury had been able to reach a unanimous conclusion, we look forward to presenting our case to a new jury in the near future."

The mistrial came after oral arguments in which both sides stated their cases. The trial began Feb. 24.

Juniper filed the lawsuit in 2011, alleging that while the technology used by Palo Alto in its next-generation firewalls was invented by the founders of Palo Alto, the patents belong to Juniper. Nir Zuk and Yuming Mao worked on the technology in question as executives at NetScreen before joining Juniper, which bought NetScreen in 2004. The two men left Juniper in 2005 to form Palo Alto. Juniper officials also allege that Palo Alto infringed on seven patents that were developed by NetScreen and that were inherited by Juniper when it bought the company.

Palo Alto officials have denied the claims throughout the course of the case, and did so again after the mistrial.

"From the outset, we said we would vigorously defend the company against Juniper's lawsuit," Palo Alto President and CEO Mark McLaughlin said in a statement. "We continue to stand by our position that we do not infringe on their patents and are committed to delivering innovation and providing the network security market with disruptive technologies."