Cisco Systems last week took a step toward settling its patent-infringement lawsuit against Chinese networking vendor Huawei Technologies by agreeing to temporarily halt litigation.
The suspension will enable an independent expert to review voluntary changes made by Huawei to disputed source code and user manuals for some of its router and switch products. The successful completion of that review will lead to the end of the suit, the companies said.
>> FEBRUARY: Huawei voluntarily pulls products with disputed source code from U.S. market.
>> MARCH: 3Com plans joint venture with Huawei.
>> JUNE: Court issues preliminary injunction banning sales of disputed Huawei products.
>> SEPTEMBER: 3Com introduces Router 5000 family, jointly developed with Huawei.
>> OCTOBER: Cisco suspends suit, pending independent review of modified Huawei products.
Huawei will also continue to abide by a preliminary injunction issued in June that prohibits the sale of products that contain the disputed source code.
3Com, which is forming a joint venture with Huawei to target enterprise customers and had intervened in the lawsuit, has also agreed to the established terms, said Ron Friedman, associate general counsel for 3Com, Marlborough, Mass., adding that Cisco and Huawei have petitioned the court to suspend the suit for six months.
The agreement reflects no admission of guilt by Huawei, Friedman said.
San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco in January filed the suit against Huawei and two of its U.S.-based subsidiaries, claiming the companies copied Cisco's operating system source code and technical documentation, infringing on at least five Cisco patents.
The litigation thus far has not kept 3Com from introducing products from the Huawei partnership, such as the Router 5000 family of midrange products announced last week.
3Com needs to build up its internal infrastructure to challenge Cisco in the enterprise and support the higher-end products, some of which have already hit the market, said David Perry, vice president of professional services at Nsynch Services, a solution provider in Grand Prairie, Texas. "To get back into the router and core switch space, I see them needing to get their service and support organization back up in numbers and technical levels," Perry said.