August 10, 2000
Another week, another Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA) law suit. This time the French telecommunications company is not going after the usual lot of heavy-hitting competitors like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) or Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/TSE: NT), nor fresh, lean startups.
No, this time, they are going after real trouble: the South Bend Indiana Hackers Club.
On Wednesday the company filed a civil suit against the club, alleging that it had posted proprietary software on the Internet, software it had obtained in a separate criminal transaction when individuals from the club allegedly stole $200,000 worth of telecommunications gear from Ameritech, according to an article in Thursday’s South Bend Tribune.
The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend, seeks unspecified damages, along with an injunction to remove the software from the club’s Website. The software in question is called Litespan and is used to link fiber optic lines with copper telephone wires to convert voice and data traffic into digital code. The fear outlined in the complaint, according to the article, is that individuals with access to this software could potentially disrupt telephone calls.
The judge in the case has already ordered the site to be taken down, according to an Alcatel legal spokesperson.
Alcatel is known for keeping a tight lid on its intellectual property and is involved in a number of other cases with companies like Cisco and startups such as IPOptical Inc., which was founded by an ex-Alcatel employee who, according to a lawsuit filed by Alcatel, had allegedly been stealing secrets while still working at Alcatel (see Alcatel Sues Former Employee).
-- Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading, http://www.lightreading.com
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