Light Reading

Content Networks Spark Legal Fireworks

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
8/14/2002
50%
50%

Patent infringement suites, counter-suits, and FBI raids: It's just another day in the content networking market.

Content networking technology companies and service providers are battling over ownership of key software patents that help speed the delivery of Web content over the Internet.

Just last week Cable & Wireless (NYSE: CWP) filed its second lawsuit in three weeks against its leading competitor Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM), which has initiated most of the litigation in the sector (see C&W Sues Sockeye, Akamai and C&W Sues Akamai). The two companies have filed complaints and counter-complaints against each other for the past two years.

Cable & Wireless’s latest lawsuit contends that Akamai is infringing on its U.S. Patent No. 6,275,470 which covers the Host-to-Host Adaptive Routing Protocol (HHARP) that detects Internet congestion and determines the best route across the Internet. The company alleges that Akamai and its route optimization spinoff, Sockeye Networks, are using its technology in their services. Sockeye, in which Akamai still holds a minority stake, is also named in the lawsuit (see Sockeye Spawns Service).

Akamai officials say that C&W's latest actions are a way for the company to divert attention away from an injunction Akamai won against the company in July. In December 2001, a jury found that Digital Island, an Internet Service Provider that C&W owns, had violated Akamai’s U.S. Patent No. 6,108,703. Judge Rya Zobel will establish the final wording of the injunction to be granted in the next few weeks, says Jeff Young, an Akamai spokesperson. The court is also expected to hold hearings on damages later this year.

“We are aware of the Cable & Wireless complaints,” says Young. “And we think they are without merit, and we are confident that Akamai doesn’t infringe either of these patents. Cable & Wireless seems to be acting to avert attention away from the recent federal district court ruling in our favor.”

Cable & Wireless was not available for comment on this story, but in a press release issued last week, the company maintained it was doing what was necessary to protect its intellectual property and stated that it expects to actively defend its intellectual property over the next several years.

Akamai has also gone after Speedera Networks Inc., a small startup competitor. In February of this year, Akamai filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the startup. And in June it filed a lawsuit alleging that Speedera's cofounder and chief technology officer, Richard Day, stole customer prospects and other information from a database maintained by a third party, Keynote Systems Inc. Speedera officials have flatly denied these allegations.

On June 24, the FBI raided Speedera’s Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters in response to a sealed affidavit filed by Akamai. In response, Speedera filed a suit against Akamai for unfair competition, false advertising, trade libel, and intentional interference with prospective business advantage.

Some legal experts say the flurry of new litigation by Cable & Wireless looks like an attempt to finally bring Akamai to the bargaining table and put a stop to all the lawsuits.

“It’s common for companies to counter-sue one another,” says Joel Rosenblatt, a private practice patent attorney in Florida. “I’m sure Cable & Wireless is trying to get Akamai to back off.”

While Akamai has won its initial patent case against Cable & Wireless, it’s not certain that the company will prevail in the cases that C&W filed against it this summer. What’s more, launching or defending such cases is not cheap. Each lawsuit costs about $1 million to either litigate or defend, says Rosenblatt. With $300 million in debt and its stock trading around $1 -- off its high of $300 a share in 2000 -- Akamai could be in a weakened position as it tries to pay for all its legal bills.

“I would guess that Akamai doesn’t want to put its competitors out of business but would rather get a large cash award in the way of damages,” says Rosenblatt. “Then they can force their competitors to license their technology and the checks keep on coming whether they have any business or not.”

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 2: Warning Shot
John Barnes, Author, 7/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?