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Cisco & Huawei Extend Stay

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
4/12/2004
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Today, nothing happened in the case of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) versus Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. And at least until late July, maybe as late as October, nothing likely will.

On April 1, both parties agreed to extend a stay that keeps the case on ice until October 2004. Last October, Cisco and Huawei announced that they have signed an agreement to put litigation on hold, pending an independent review of Huawei products (see Cisco/Huawei Lawsuit on Hold).

Apparently, that review is taking longer than expected. “The parties have an agreed schedule for review of Huawei’s products which… may not be completed until July 2004,” a court filing states.

Cisco sued Huawei in January 2003 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The routing giant then accused the Chinese company (and its Texas-based subsidiary, FutureWei), of copying its IOS software and source code, copying documentation, and infringing on several of its patents.

Specifically, Cisco said that the “VRP” (Versatile Routing Platform) operating system used in Huawei’s Quidway routers and switches contained a number of text strings, file names, and software bugs that were identical to those found in Cisco’s IOS operating system (see Cisco/Huawei Brawl Begins).

Huawei says that its investigations revealed that some rogue developers within the company had downloaded a portion of Cisco’s software and incorporated it in version 1.5.6 of its VRP software. It eliminated this copied module from subsequent versions of VRP, and also rewrote its software to eliminate other key similarities to Cisco’s code (see Cisco Wins Round 1 Against Huawei, Huawei Admits Copying, and Huawei: Cisco Code Is Gone).

While defending itself in court, Huawei called in an expert witness -- Dennis Allison, an independent consultant and lecturer at Stanford University's Computer Systems Laboratory -- to compare versions of its VRP software with Cisco’s IOS software.

The expert found “some localized similarities” between the earlier version and Cisco’s IOS, and found “no significant similarities” between the revised version of VRP and IOS. Some details are available here, on Light Reading’s message board.

This latest development, the extended stay, fuels the rumor that this case will eventually disappear. Cisco came out great guns when the case first started, issuing a strongly worded press release and winning its initial injunction against Huawei.

Cisco softened its tone when the first stay was announced, and it didn't even announce this most recent stay. Likewise, the company declined to comment for this story.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, and Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

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