Case Study

A David vs. Goliath Trademark Trial

In a rare trademark case taken to trial, Jayaram fiercely defended an up-andcoming cloud encryption and security startup against a multi-billion dollar cybersecurity behemoth—and won unanimously.

Client Challenge

Fortanix, a cloud data security company, chose the name Fortanix to emphasize the impenetrability of its patented technology. It obtained a trademark registration to give it exclusive rights to the name. Over four years, Fortanix garnered acclaim for working with industry powerhouses such as Intel, Goldman Sachs, and Google. In March 2020, Fortinet, a behemoth company, brought claims against Fortanix alleging that its name infringed upon Fortinet’s trademark. How could upstart Fortanix go toe-to-toe with Fortinet, and at the onset of a pandemic no less? They chose to go with Jayaram.

Strategies, Tactics, and Solutions

Jayaram’s litigation team immediately focused on the crux of the argument—the sophistication of customers purchasing Fortanix’s products. Over the course of discovery, Jayaram conducted an investigation that showed that no customers of Fortinet and Fortanix had actually confused the two businesses. Further, Fortinet had failed to enforce its mark against other marks with the pre-fix “Fort.” Against a wall, Fortinet switched to intimidation tactics, seeking $3.5 million in damages for corrective advertising. Jayaram’s litigation team quickly put Fortinet on the defensive by filing an aggressive motion for summary judgment and motions to exclude the testimony of Fortinet’s expert witnesses. Over the course of two weeks in the Northern District of California, our trial team vigorously defended Fortanix’s right to use its trademark. Jayaram convinced a jury that Fortinet’s legal theory was purely speculative since customers in the cybersecurity space are highly sophisticated and unlikely to confuse the two businesses. 

Favorable Outcomes & Happy Clients

Jayaram obtained the best possible outcome for our client. A unanimous jury returned a verdict in favor of Fortanix on all counts, and declined to award damages of any kind to the plaintiff. The win further establishes the client’s position in the market: strength and fortitude.