Cisco withdraws Huawei lawsuit

Cisco the leader in network technology has dropped its copyright lawsuit against rival network manufacturer Huawei Technologies. Huawei Technologies agreed to modify its products after admitted it had inadvertently obtained a small amount of Cisco's key source code, and then having it appear in its own products. Cisco wasn't just upset about the source code. According to the Financial Times "Cisco also claimed Huawei's command line interfaces, user manuals and help screens were based on Cisco's technology."

Cisco Systems, the US internet equipment maker, on Wednesday said it had dropped its copyright lawsuit against rival Huawei Technologies after the Chinese company agreed to modify a series of products that prompted the dispute. The conclusion of the case, filed in January 2003, followed a 10-month review in which a neutral third party verified that Huawei's modified products did not infringe Cisco's intellectual property (IP) rights. The case was one of several in recent years that highlighted growing concerns about corporate espionage in Silicon Valley. A spate of cases involving Chinese nationals and companies raised particular concerns about China's role in the theft of US technology.

But Beijing has made a show of stepping up enforcement of IP rights since China joined the WTO. Cisco said on several occasions that the Chinese authorities were receptive to its concerns. The two companies make routers and switches that manage and direct the flow of data traffic over communications networks. While most of Huawei's customers are telecoms companies, it has tried to boost sales to US corporate customers, a market dominated by Cisco. Huawei, one of China's most successful tech companies, last year formed a joint venture with 3Com, another Cisco rival, to help it break into that market.

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