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Cisco sues Huawei over patents

The networking giant claims the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker infringed on its patents and illegally copied its software and documentation.

Cisco Systems has filed a lawsuit against Huawei Technologies, claiming the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker infringed on its patents and illegally copied source code.

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Huawei, based in Shenzhen, China, has a wide reach in Asia, and recently entered the U.S. market, challenging Cisco on the pricing front.

Cisco's suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that Huawei violated at least five Cisco patents and copied Cisco's Internetwork Operating System (IOS) source code, using it in the operating system for its Quidway routers and switches. Huawei's system contains text strings, file names and bugs identical to Cisco's source code, the company claims.

Cisco also alleges that Huawei copied its technical documents, including user manuals, its command line interface and its screen displays.

Representatives of Huawei and its Futurewei Technologies subsidiary could not be reached for comment.

"As a result of extensive copying of the Cisco (command line interface), defendants can promote their Quidway routers, switches and products that use (Huawei's interface) by convincing Cisco customers that they will not have to learn a new command line interface if they purchase the defendants' products," the complaint states.

Cisco is asking the court for preliminary and permanent injunctions to prohibit Huawei from using or selling the products in question. Cisco is seeking damages as well. Cisco said it also served a cease-and-desist letter to Spot Distribution in the United Kingdom. Spot is distributing Huawei products that Cisco claims copy its intellectual property.