Veeam Claims Patent Lawsuit Victory Against Symantec

Data protection software vendor Veeam on Wednesday claimed victory in a patent litigation lawsuit filed against the company by Symantec, and expressed confidence that it would prevail in another active Symantec lawsuit against it.

Symantec originally announced its lawsuit against Veeam and Acronis in a February 2012 blog post. In the lawsuit, a copy of which is available in that blog post, Symantec alleged that Veeam had infringed against four of Symantec's patents related to its Backup Exec and NetBackup data protection applications.

In Symantec's lawsuit against Veeam, which was filed on Feb. 13, 2012, in the U.S. District Court in Santa Jose, Calif., Symantec accused Veeam of four counts of infringement.

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They include alleged infringement of Symantec patent number 7,093,086, which refers to using virtual machines for disaster recovery and backup; 6,931,558, which refers to methods for restoring data; 7,191,299, which is related to data replication; and 7,254,682, which is related to the creation of data snapshots.

Veeam said that, in an Inter Partes Review proceeding it brought against Symantec's asserted patents, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office invalidated several claims in the '086, '558 and '299 patents, and that Symantec in January dismissed its Federal Circuit appeal of that decision.

Symantec in 2013 had already dismissed with prejudice the '558, '299 and '682 patents, Veeam said.

Doug Hazelman, Veeam vice president of product strategy, told CRN that his company worked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for three years to dismiss or invalidate the Symantec patents and claims, including claims from a second Symantec lawsuit filed in October of 2012.

"In April of 2014, the USPTO agreed we established the potential to get [that second set of] patents invalidated," Hazelman said. "The final decision will be handed down in April."

The lawsuit has had no impact on Veeam's business, Hazelman said. "It's been going on in the background," he said. "But business hasn't stopped. We've been focused on our new product revenue and new maintenance revenue. This hasn't slowed us down a bit."

Hazelman appears to be right about the lawsuit not getting in the way of business. The privately held company on Wednesday also for the first time unveiled its revenue.

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Veeam in 2014 had $288 million in new license bookings, up 33 percent over 2013, while 2014 renewals bookings rose 66 percent over 2013 to reach $101 million. The company also gained 44,000 new customers in 2014, and is now adding about 4,000 new customers a month, Hazelman said.

Hazelman declined to say whether Veeam had plans to countersue Symantec.

Symantec, in a statement emailed to CRN by a company spokesperson, said, "The legal dispute between Symantec and Veeam remains ongoing and proceedings continue before the patent office and in federal court. Symantec continues to vigorously assert its legal rights to protect its intellectual property. As the legal dispute is still pending, we have no additional comment."

The final outcome of the lawsuits should have little impact on solution providers, said Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Veeam partner.

"There may be an occasional question like, 'What is this patent infringement?'" Kadlec told CRN. "Such questions go way back to the 1990s when EMC infringed on MTI patents. But there's no real impact, especially when it's about well-established companies like Symantec and Veeam. Maybe if it was a smaller company not yet established, getting sued would be an issue. But established companies tend to work things out."

Jason Silva, principal at Revel Technology, a Houston-based solution provider and Veeam partner, told CRN that for his company, it will be business as usual.

"Customers seldom ask about such things, unless a vendor is throwing out a lot of FUD," Silva said. "Otherwise, customers are not taking a close look at this."