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4 Firms Named in Net Security Patent Suit

April 14, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Prism Technologies sued Johnson & Johnson, the world's biggest producer of medical devices, VeriSign Inc. and two other companies, claiming they had infringed a patent covering Internet security technology.

Prism contends in a suit filed Monday in federal court in Wilmington, Del., that Johnson & Johnson and VeriSign, along with Computer Associates International Inc., the fifth-largest software maker, and RSA Security Inc., misappropriated the technology, which is protected by a patent awarded in 2003 for a system to control access to subscription-based Internet sites.

All four companies are "using computer programming products, information retrieval products" and other software in violation of the patent, Omaha-based Prism said in its complaint, which asks for unspecified damages of "not less than a reasonable royalty."

VeriSign, based in Mountain View, Calif., and RSA, based in Bedford, Mass., faced similar allegations in another case tried in the same court in 2003. A jury decided that the companies didn't infringe Internet security patents owned by an inventor who sought $20 million in damages.

Johnson & Johnson spokesman Jeffrey Leebaw declined to comment on the lawsuit. Computer Associates spokesman Bob Gordon said the Islandia, N.Y., company "received the complaint and is evaluating it."

VeriSign spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy said the company didn't comment on pending litigation. RSA didn't return a call seeking comment.

Shares of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson fell 5 cents to $68.59 and Computer Associates rose 35 cents to $28, both on the New York Stock Exchange. VeriSign fell $1.06 to $27.79 and RSA rose 43 cents to $11.40, both on Nasdaq.

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