Jury rules that VMware must pay $236M to Densify for patent infringement

Densify wins a $236 million patent infringement case against VMware, but VMware plans to appeal. (Pixabay)

Following a nine-day trial, a federal jury in Delaware found that VMware has to pay damages of $236 million to Densify for infringing on two of Densify's patents.

The verdict was announced on Friday before Judge Leonard P. Stark in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The technology patent infringement case centered on new versions of VMware's vRealize Operations software.

When it filed its lawsuit on April 25 last year, Toronto-based Densify claimed infringement by VMware's vRealize Operations Manager (vROps 7.0/7.5), which is its flagship product for optimization of private cloud infrastructure, and its Predictive DRS release, both of which Densify said infringed on two of its patents around virtual guest-host placement services.

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“Unfortunately, VMware, a great company, made a bad mistake, and used Densify’s intellectual property,” said Densify CEO Gerry Smith in regards to the April 25 filing, in a statement. “Like any small, successful technology company, the only way we can effectively compete with larger companies is by having a fair and level playing field where intellectual property rights are respected. We filed this lawsuit to defend the innovations and intellectual property Densify brings to market.”

Along with the patent infringement, Densify also contended that VMware not only copied its technology, but also used the name "Densify" in reference to its own products.

"Densify’s technology offerings were so compelling that VMware took Densify’s ideas and intellectual property, brazenly infringing the patents with products that worked the same way, looked strikingly similar, and even were advertised using the 'Densify' trademarks," according to Densify's filing. "Rather than innovating on its own, VMware has systematically copied Densify’s technology. VMware has used Densify’s technology as a blueprint to close in on Densify’s lead as one of the best optimization solutions in the market.

"VMware’s infringement has gradually increased over time, copying more and more of the features of Densify’s product—the most significant to date being the recent releases of its flagship product, vROps, and its movement into the hybrid cloud space."

The jurors found that VMware willfully infringed on patent numbers US8209687 and US9654367, which include virtualization technology that optimize how software applications can use computing resources in the cloud and on premise in data centers.

"As we maintained throughout trial, VMware unlawfully used Densify's intellectual property for its own gain," said Courtland Reichman, lead counsel for Densify, in a statement. "We are very pleased with the jury's verdict and consider it not only a victory for Densify, but a victory for all technology companies who risk being unfairly squeezed out of the market by larger competitors who infringe their valuable inventions."

According to a statement by VMware, it plans to appeal the verdict.

“VMware is proud of its history as an innovator and leader in the enterprise software space. While we appreciate and respect the judicial process, we continue to strongly believe that we do not infringe the patents asserted against us in this case, and intend to vigorously pursue all legal remedies that are available to us to prove that we are not liable here.” VMware said in its statement.

Densify, which makes virtual container resource management and cloud software, was a partner of VMware's. The company was formerly known as Cirba prior to changing its name to three years ago. According to Crunchbase, startup Densify, which was founded in 1999, has raised $38 million in funding.

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