3Com To Unveil Enterprise Switch From Huawei

3Com is expected to make the announcement June 18, according to a source close to the company.

3Com last week asked the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, Texas, to intervene in the litigation between Cisco Systems and Huawei Technologies. 3Com, based here, wants the court to declare that the products it OEMs from Huawei and later sells through a planned joint venture do not infringe on Cisco's intellectual property. Also last week, Huawei asked the court to declare that its new products do not infringe Cisco's Intellectual property.

3Com in said in March that it had formed a joint venture with Huawei to produce a high end line of enterprise switches and routers.

Last week's moves follow a preliminary injunction issued by the court June 6 that bars Huawei from selling products that use Cisco documentation, online help files and source code. Huawei said it already has pulled the products in question from U.S. markets.

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Cisco spokesperson Penny Bruce said that Cisco has no problem with 3Com being heard in the case as long as it doesn't delay the process. Bruce called the preliminary injunction "a significant victory" for the San Jose, Calif.-based networking hardware vendor.

Kevin Johnson, an intellectual property litigator in the Palo Alto, Calif., office of Fish & Neave, said the preliminary injunction is a victory for Cisco. "The judge has determined that Huawei has a problem," he said. "Preliminary injunctions are not granted unless you can show that you have a significant likelihood of winning your case."

But 3Com general counsel Mark Michael said the preliminary injunction merely ratifies what Huawei had already agreed to do. "Huawei admitted there were mistakes," he said. "It said it was going to fix them. Cisco asked for the moon and the stars and it got only what Huawei had already agreed to do."

3Com considers the case "a serious matter," Michael said. "But we have tremendous confidence that it is not going to prevent us from bringing these products to 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. "We did the full review and came away very impressed," Claflin said.