One of Netskope’s core cultural tenets is “Dream Big and Be Innovative.” This tenet has been part of the Netskope DNA since our founding in 2012, by engineers with deep security and networking experience and a true passion and respect for innovation. In everything we do, we strive to “do good” and “do right.”
Early on, we saw a future in which networks wouldn’t have traditional perimeters, and data, applications, and users would be everywhere. This required a vastly different technology architecture and approach—a modern one built for, and deployed in, the cloud.
We are proud that, as of today, our innovation has helped enable thousands of customers to transition to, and operate safely in, a cloud-first environment. This innovation has been recognized by top analyst firms and across the industry, from numerous industry awards to recently being named one of only three Leaders in the inaugural Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge (SSE). Alongside consistent Gartner, IDC, and various other reputable accolades for our CASB, secure web gateway (SWG), cloud data loss prevention (DLP), and many related capabilities, we stand behind the vision and execution that have made Netskope the highly regarded company we are.
Unfortunately, success at times breeds envy. Netskope has been threatened with baseless legal action on the grounds of patent infringement from Fortinet, a decades-old legacy network security appliance vendor. Fortinet has a history of buying innovation to stockpile patents for the purposes of litigation, and of using litigation to stifle and intimidate competitors and even partners that are showing momentum in market segments it covets.
Netskope prefers to focus on our customers, not on litigation. But we’ve worked extremely hard on our innovation and need to defend it. For this reason, Netskope has filed for a declaratory judgment action against Fortinet. In simple terms, this means that Netskope has taken the affirmative step of asking a Federal court to confirm that Netskope does not in fact infringe on the patent claims that Fortinet used to threaten Netskope.
As our complaint outlines, Fortinet has repeatedly threatened to sue Netskope for months now, but has refused our numerous requests to provide necessary and essential information on their baseless infringement claims, or even basic information to substantiate any infringement. Despite what seems like Fortinet’s bad faith negotiations and unreasonable demands, Netskope has earnestly tried to find common ground and a reasonable business resolution. When it became clear that Fortinet’s negotiations were a mere pretext to try to bully Netskope—as Fortinet has done with other companies in the past—Netskope reluctantly chose to bring this action in Federal court to stop this bullying and baseless intimidation.
To be clear: Fortinet’s suggestions of patent infringement by Netskope are not only objectively false, but they also carry the long-simmering stigma of “patent trolling”—a disease in the tech industry that even a bipartisan U.S. Congress has in the past decade taken aim at eradicating, and of which we still see examples frequently.
We at Netskope decry unreasonable lawsuits, chicanerous discovery processes, abusive demand letters, and posturing and intimidation over inventors that have achieved innovations that have helped move our industry forward. Remember: Netskope’s very early innovation on the development and delivery of modern cloud security services took place all while Fortinet was still entirely focused on legacy hardware-based firewalls.
Netskope has no tolerance for bullying, now or in the future, and we will vigorously defend our right to stay at the forefront of innovation.