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Cisco, Huawei suspend patent suit

The networking gear maker reaches an accord with Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, suspending patent litigation between the two companies.

Networking gear maker Cisco Systems reached an accord with Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, suspending patent litigation between the two companies.

Cisco said Wednesday that it expects to end the lawsuit if Huawei abides by the agreement and makes changes to several of its router and switch products. Cisco said it will officially terminate the litigation after completion of an independent expert review process.

A Huawei representative said the company is confident the independent review will proceed smoothly. "Huawei is pleased to have reached an agreement on a process that it hopes will result in resolution of the litigation," the representative said.

Cisco filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in January, claiming that Huawei violated at least five of the company's patents and copied Cisco's Internetwork Operating System source code. Cisco said Huawei used the code in the operating system for its Quidway routers and switches and claimed that Huawei's system contained text strings, file names and bugs identical to Cisco's source code. Cisco also alleged that Huawei copied its technical documents, including user manuals, its command line interface and its screen displays.

Huawei said it voluntarily made changes to the products in question even before the courts issued a preliminary injunction order asking the company to do so in June.

Under the terms of the agreement, Huawei will continue to abide by the terms of the preliminary injunction order by making changes to certain router and switch products. The companies said they have agreed on a process for reviewing these modifications. All other terms of the agreement are confidential, according to Cisco.

Cisco competitor 3Com intervened in the lawsuit and promised to help honor the agreement. In March, 3Com formed a joint venture with Huawei to bolster 3Com's product line by giving the company access to several new LAN (local area network) switches and routers, devices that direct data on computer networks. Under the deal, 3Com is able to sell the joint venture products under its own brand throughout the world, except in China and Japan.

3Com also stands to gain wider access to markets in those two countries, where the joint venture will market 3Com products as well as former Huawei products under the 3Com-Huawei brand. Huawei, meanwhile, expects to gain access to a number of new markets outside Asia through the partnership.

CNET's John Spooner contributed to this report.