& cplSiteName &

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
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Documentaries
All Change in Video

2|11|16   |   33:12   |   (1) comment


At this moderated panel at 2020 Vision in Dublin, Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader of Light Reading, sits down with Jeff Finkelstein, director of network architecture at Cox Communications, to discuss the rapidly changing video market.
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (1) comment


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
AT&T Lights Fire Under 5G, Plans 2016 Trials
Iain Morris, News Editor, 2/12/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Andreessen Facepalms on Facebook Free Basics
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/10/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.