3Com Asks To Intervene In Cisco-Huawei Suit

3Com, Santa Clara, Calif., said in March that it would team with Huawei to produce the high-end networking gear it needs to move into the large enterprise market despite the factthat the Chinese networking vendor is embroiled in a patent and copyright-infringement lawsuit with Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

3Com said it filed the motion to intervene in preparation for the launch of its 3Com-Huawei joint venture and because of plans in the interim to begin shipping products from Huawei on an OEM basis until the joint venture is operational. 3Com said the motion demonstrates that it is confident that the new products it will ship are substantially different from those in the dispute between Cisco and Huawei.

Also Tuesday, Huawei filed an amended counterclaim for declaratory relief that the new products do not infringe Cisco's intellectual property.

3Com and Huawei asked the court to make a declaratory ruling regarding the validity and originality of the intellectual property behind newly designed Huawei and 3Com-Huawei products to be sold by 3Com.

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Before Cisco initiated its legal action against Huawei, Huawei already had removed the products outlined in Cisco's motion for a preliminary injunction from the U.S. market.

In a recent interview, 3Com President and CEO Bruce Claflin told CRN that 3Com initiated joint venture talks with Huawei in June 2002 and thus conducted a full intellectual property review of the company months before Cisco filed suit in January. 3Com asked for the intellectual property review because it is "a normal part of due diligence" and because "Cisco had been grousing publicly for over a year," Claflin said.

"We did the full review and came away very impressed," he added.

The joint venture agreement calls for Huawei to produce gear that has 3Com's "look and feel, nomenclature, publications and command line interface," Claflin said. "These are changes we asked Huawei to make because we wanted our customers to have the same experience with the new products as with our own, but these changes address many of the complaints Cisco brought in the lawsuit," he said.

Late last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a temporary injunction barring Huawei from using Cisco manuals, help files and source code. But the court added that the temporary injunction should not be construed as a final decision on the merits of the case.