A federal judge in Virginia dismissed Centripetal Networks’ patent infringement claims against Cisco Systems in a multi-billion-dollar battle over network-security technology. The case, previously awarded $2.75 billion in damages to Centripetal in 2020, marked the largest patent damages award in U.S. history by U.S. District Judge Henry Morgan.
However, following an appeal due to ethical concerns—Morgan’s ownership of Cisco stock—the original decision was overturned. With Morgan’s passing, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Hanes presided over the new hearings and ruled on Monday in favor of Cisco, stating that they did not infringe the patents.
Both Centripetal and Cisco representatives refrained from immediate comment on Tuesday.
Centripetal, based in Reston, Virginia, initiated the lawsuit against Cisco in 2018, alleging that Cisco’s routers, network-security software, and other products infringed on patents related to Centripetal’s technology for blocking security threats from entering computer networks.
Morgan’s initial ruling favored Centripetal in 2020, awarding $1.9 billion in damages plus royalties that Cisco argued elevated the total to over $2.7 billion. However, Morgan disclosed his wife’s ownership of 100 shares of Cisco stock, valued at $4,688, before issuing the ruling, asserting that it hadn’t influenced his handling of the case.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit nullified the award and returned the case to the Virginia court, emphasizing that Morgan should have either recused himself or ensured the stock’s sale.
Subsequently, the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to review the Federal Circuit’s decision.