Columbia University was awarded slightly over $185 million in damages Monday by a federal jury that found that NortonLifeLock Inc. willfully and literally infringed two patents related to groundbreaking cybersecurity safeguards invented by Columbia professors, according to a press release from the university.
The award was the result of a unanimous verdict stemming from a two-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Columbia brought the case in December 2013. The jury awarded the university $185,112,727 in reasonable royalties on the two patents through Feb. 28 of this year, the press release said, adding that the “finding of willful and literal infringement means the Court also has discretion” to triple the actual or compensatory damages.
“The trial focused on whether Norton infringed two patents and had fraudulently concealed its filing of a third patent for technology developed by Columbia professors Salvatore Stolfo and Angelos Keromytis of the University’s Intrusion Detection Systems Laboratory (‘IDS Lab’). While the jury did not find that Norton fraudulently filed the third patent, it did find that Professors Stolfo and Keromytis were co-inventors of that patent along with Darren Shou of Norton,” the release said.
“We are pleased that the Court has recognized NortonLifeLock’s violations of Columbia University’s intellectual property rights to groundbreaking computer security innovations, made possible by the work of professors and researchers in Columbia’s IDS Lab,” Orin Herskowitz, senior vice president of intellectual property and technology transfer at Columbia, said in the press release.
The two Columbia professors, along with research scientist Stelios Sidiroglou, invented the patented computer security technologies that Columbia argued are used in Norton consumer and business malware detection products, including its Norton Antivirus internet security suite, the release said.
“I am extremely grateful to the members of the jury for achieving this just result; I feel vindicated,” Stolfo, who leads the IDS Lab and holds approximately 100 patents for his work, said in the release. “While it is disappointing that a company would repeatedly take our inventions for their own benefit, the heart of my lab is the students and staff, and I am gratified that the award will help support their important work.”