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Trade Commission Slams Fortinet

Security startup Fortinet Inc. has been barred from importing and selling its anti-virus software within the U.S. by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) after infringing an anti-virus patent from rival Trend Micro Inc..

The antivirus software forms a key element of Fortinets FortiGate device, a sort of security “God-box," which combines hardware-based firewalls with VPN support, intrusion detection, and purpose-built ASICs.

The move follows a Commission ruling that Fortinet violated parts of Trend Micro’s patent 5,623,600 for anti-virus software (see Fortinet Disputes Patent Claim).

Today the USITC announced its “remedy" for the violation, which includes a limited exclusion order on imports. This prohibits “the unlicensed entry of systems for detecting and removing viruses or worms" into the U.S., the Commission documents state. The Commission also hit Fortinet with a cease-and-desist order that prohibits “selling, marketing, advertising, distributing, offering for sale, transferring (except for exportation) and soliciting U.S. agents or distributors” for the systems.

Hal Covert, Fortinet’s CFO, attempted to put a positive spin on events when he spoke to NDCF. “This only affects our U.S. operation,” he said. “Over 70 percent of our revenue is generated internationally.”

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