Trend Micro, Network Associates settle dispute

Trend Micro and Network Associates, two makers of antivirus software, have settled technology patent lawsuits pending against each other and will cross-license their patent portfolios, the companies said yesterday in a statement.

The companies said they hope the settlement, finalised Wednesday, marks an end to the legal duelling over use of patented antivirus technology that has marked relations among antivirus companies in recent years.

"We think the result of this settlement signifies a new era of cooperation among antivirus companies," Mike Conner, president of Trend Micro North American operations and senior vice president of Trend Micro, said in a phone interview. "We're happy to put the lawsuit behind us and concentrate on our customers."

As part of the settlement, Network Associates will pay Trend Micro $US12.5 million, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trend Micro sued Network Associates in May 1997 in the US District Court of San Jose, alleging infringement of its patents for antivirus software covering internet data transfers and email. Network Associates sued Trend Micro last month in the US District Court of Dallas, claiming infringement of patents for embedding antivirus technology into internet and network applications.

Litigation among antivirus companies has been a familiar occurrence in recent years.

Trend Micro settled a patent infringement lawsuit filed against Symantec in April 1998, with the companies agreeing to cross-license patents, Conner said .

In December 1999, Network Associates and its subsidiary Cybermedia came to an agreement with Symantec to mitigate trade secret and unfair competition lawsuits brought against each other.

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