Cisco intellectual property lawsuit against Huawei on hold

Legal action is being suspended while experts review changes made by Huawei

Cisco Systems Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. today announced a move toward ending a lawsuit Cisco brought in January that claimed Huawei had copied Cisco's software and other intellectual property.

The companies said in a short statement that they have signed an agreement to stay the litigation pending in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The stay remains in effect pending an outside expert's independent review of changes that Shenzhen, China-based Huawai has already made to some of its router and switch products now on sale, according to the companies.

Both companies said they expect that the review "will lead to the end of the lawsuit."

Most of the terms of the agreement announced today were kept confidential.

Marlborough, Mass.-based 3Com Corp., which is in the process of receiving Chinese government approval to become a joint venture partner with Huawei, intervened in the lawsuit in June and welcomed today's agreement, said Ron Friedman, associate general counsel for the company.

"3Com is hopeful and ... pleased they've reached an agreement on this process," Friedman said. He predicted that the agreement won't have any impact on the proposed joint venture and said that Huawei's products will remain quality products. 3Com has already begun selling some Huawei products that are repackaged with 3Com interfaces and support.

San Jose-based Cisco complained in January that Huawei allegedly copied portions of Cisco's IOS source code and included that technology in Huawei's Quidway routers and switches (see story). In addition, Cisco asserted that Huawei had copied Cisco's technical documentation for use in user manuals for Quidway routers and switches. Cisco also said Huawei allegedly copied its Command Line Interface and screen displays for Cisco's copyrighted IOS software into Huawei's OS for Quidway products.

Finally, Cisco alleged that Huawei infringed on at least five Cisco patents related to proprietary routing protocols that were included in Quidway products.

Cisco sought monetary damages in the original suit, but all the parties to the legal action refused today to discuss any disposition of damages.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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