Fortinet ordered to stop selling antivirus in U.S.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has ordered Fortinet to stop selling antivirus products in the U.S. after a patent dispute with Trend Micro.

The ITC issued a cease and desist order on Monday against Fortinet after an initial decision by an ITC judge found that the antivirus capability in Fortinet's FortiGate integrated security products infringe on a Trend Micro patent.

According to Trend Micro, the patent covers virus scanning at a server, such as a gateway or appliance, before data is received by a client system.

Hal Covert, CFO for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fortinet, said the company expects the impact from the ITC ruling will be minimized by several factors, including the fact that about 70 percent of Fortinet's business is international.

Also, the ITC ruling only pertained to the antivirus functionality of the FortiGate platform, not its many other functions such as firewall, VPN and anti-spam, he said.

"We believe over the next 60 to 90 days that we can develop enhancements to the antivirus that will allow us to avoid the Trend patent," Covert said.

The ITC order also permits Fortinet to provide maintenance and updates to U.S. customers who had already purchased antivirus systems previously, he added. In addition, the order did not apply to the company's channel partners, who can continue to sell the antivirus products, he said.

"We certainly would prefer not to be in the situation we're in, but we feel we have a game plan to address it," Covert said.

Carolyn Bostick, Trend Micro's corporate vice president and general counsel, said in a statement that the ITC ruling validates the strength of Trend Micro's patent "and underscores the lasting value of this vital technology to customers and the industry."

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