Scott Graham from the Recorder recently published an article featuring Finjan’s Chief IP Officer, Julie Mar-Spinola, and the fact that for Finjan Litigation is the Last Resort. While the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has been called a patent “death squad” Finjan has seen the PTAB as an asset. Competitors have engaged in eight challenges against the validity of Finjan’s security software patents and have received corresponding rejections against each challenge from the PTAB, as the PTAB stands behind the merits of Finjan’s patents each time. Finjan’s patents have also held up successfully in court as evidenced by an approximate $40 million jury verdict and judgment against Blue Coat Systems in August 2015.
Julie admits that when she joined Finjan back in 2014, she was sensitive to the fact that Finjan did not make products, so obviously the question that arose was: is this Company legitimate? As such, when she came on board Julie worked with Finjan Holdings, Inc.’s CEO, Phil Hartstein, to establish a set of Core Values and Best Practices for Finjan to differentiate itself from those she more accurately refers to as patent abusers. Though, admittedly, these Best Practices are not innovative, Finjan’s commitment to do business by these values and practices has resulted in a series of favorable and even unprecedented wins before the courts and the USPTO.
One of the reasons for Finjan’s success on its patents licensing program is due to the Company’s ability to provide detailed proof charts. The discussion is never initially about money, but rather innovation and whether the prospective licensees’ products use Finjan’s technology. When Finjan does have to resort to trial, Julie believes it is crucial to present the merits of the claims in a way that will engage the jurors. In these complex trials, even if the jurors are technically savvy, it is impossible to fully understand the details of patents and the underlying technology. As such, it comes down to who the jury can ultimately trust.
Julie’s background is vast with tenure under a full spectrum roles and companies. In her view, she believes the patent landscape has shifted. In the past, when companies received notice letters on another’s patent rights there was a general desire to respect patent rights, manifested by an innate obligation to perform due diligence. Unfortunately, today when notice letters are received, many companies push the paperwork aside and ignore the claim. In Julie’s opinion, these companies believe they can just outspend smaller patent owners, including Finjan, and thus ignore the claim.
Nonetheless, Finjan’s recent licensing momentum and significant trial win against Blue Coat Systems for approximately $40 million positions Finjan for future growth as the strength of the Company’s patent portfolio increases with each challenge overcome. That, in combination with, Finjan’s emerging businesses in mobile application development, cybersecurity risk advisory and risk assessment services, and investments in next generation technology prove that Finjan’s patented technology is very much relevant and being practiced in today’s market, and affords the Company multiple paths towards future growth and the potential for recurring future revenues.
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