Cisco drops suit against Huawei

Cisco this week dropped its copyright lawsuit against Huawei Technologies after confirming that the China-based network vendor stopped sales of disputed products and changed the look of its software and user manuals.

Cisco alleged that Huawei used a replica of Cisco’s command line interface, as well as pieces of Cisco IOS source code in its products, and that it distributed material from Cisco product manuals. The suit was suspended last October when Huawei agreed to stop selling disputed routers and switches and changed its manuals and software. The suit has now been dropped after an independent investigation confirmed Huawei had stopped using Cisco intellectual property.

Cisco did not give other details on the dropping of its suit, or on the independent investigation of the Huawei products.

“We are pleased to conclude the litigation as a result of the steps that were taken to address our concerns," said Mark Chandler, Cisco’s vice president and general counsel, in a statement.

Cisco sued Huawei, China’s largest telecom equipment vendor, in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas, 18 months ago.

Shortly after the suit was filed, 3Com announced plans to enter a joint partnership with Huawei to resell the company’s routers and switches in the U.S. enterprise market, where Huawei had little presence. 3Com has since released two devices based on Huawei technology: the Switch 7700, a Layer 3 Gigabit Ethernet switch, and the Router 5000, an enterprise WAN access box. 3Com stopped selling large-enterprise LAN and WAN gear in 2000, but used the Huawei venture to re-enter these markets.

3Com intervened in the Cisco-Huawei suit last summer to show support for its joint venture partner.

In a statement, 3Com said that it “is extremely pleased that the litigation between Cisco and Huawei is now ended, and looks forward to continue competing on the merits of the products from its joint venture with Huawei.”

One of the core issues in the lawsuit involved Cisco’s allegations that its Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) source code was used in Huawei’s Versatile Routing Platform (VRP). The EIGRP software speeds communication among routers for determining data paths. Huawei claimed that this code was removed from VRP prior to a court ruling, which also barred Huawei from attempting to hire any Cisco engineers who had worked on EIGRP technology.

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.