Cisco/Huawei Lawsuit on Hold
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has suspended its copyright infringement lawsuit against Chinese equipment provider Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
The two companies jointly announced today that they have signed an agreement to put the litigation on hold pending an independent review of Huawei products.
Cisco filed its suit against Huawei last January, accusing the company of violating copyright laws and stealing intellectual property to use in Huawei products and support materials (see Cisco/Huawei Brawl Begins).
Today's agreement is not a settlement, but both companies express hope it will help lead to a conclusion to the dispute.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement that we hope will result in a resolution to the litigation,” says Penny Bruce, a Cisco spokeswoman.
Cisco won a preliminary injunction against Huawei back in June (see Cisco Wins Huawei Injunction). As a result, the court ordered Huawei to stop distributing user manuals or online help files that contain material copyrighted by Cisco. It also prohibited the Chinese company from selling products that use a portion of Cisco’s source code. But the court did not go as far as Cisco would have liked. It refused Cisco’s broader request to bar Huawei from using any of its router software.
The agreement today takes the preliminary injunction a step further and gives Cisco exactly what it wants. As part of the agreement, Huawei has agreed to update and change all of the products that have been accused of violating copyright or intellectual property rights. Specifically, Huawei has agreed to change its source code, command line interfaces, user manuals, and all portions of the help screen for these products.
Huawei says it had voluntarily made these changes to its products and support material soon after the lawsuit was filed (see Huawei: Cisco Code Is Gone).
The two companies have also agreed to allow an independent expert to review Huawei products to ensure they are in compliance with the agreement. Cisco has asked the court to suspend the litigation for six months while the review process is being conducted. After that point, a decision will be made whether to continue with the litigation or settle the dispute.
Based on Cisco’s previous statements, the company’s primary demand is that the alleged copying be stopped. No details have been provided in terms of what, if any, damages the company is seeking in the lawsuit.
3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS), which is forming a joint venture with Huawei, intervened in the lawsuit earlier this summer (see 3Com Taps Huawei in Enterprise Battle and 3Com Pings Court on Huawei Deal). It has also agreed to the terms outlined today.
“We are pleased that they have been able to reach this agreement,” says Ron Friedman, associate general counsel for 3Com. “And we foresee no impact on the proposed joint venture from what was announced today.”
— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading