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Lucent slams Cisco with suit

The telco giant files a patent infringement lawsuit against the data kingpin, citing infringement of eight patents relating to data networking.

The battle between Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies has moved to the court room.

Telecommunications giant Lucent filed a patent infringement lawsuit against data kingpin Cisco in a U.S. District Court in Delaware today, citing infringement of eight patents relating to data networking.

The patents cover technologies related to routing devices, frame relay equipment, and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) gear.

Lucent is seeking damages form Cisco as well as an injunction prohibiting Cisco's future use of Lucent-owned patents. A Lucent spokesman said the company approached Cisco about 18 months ago and tried to negotiate an amicable settlement, possibly covering a licensing agreement for the technologies in dispute.

"After numerous attempts to negotiate with Cisco, we were left with no other recourse but to file suit," Michael Greene, president of intellectual property for Lucent, said in a statement.

Cisco and Lucent are locked in heated competition in light of the ongoing convergence of voice and data-based networks. Lucent gained newfound freedom and independence as a result of its split with former parent AT&T, and has thrust itself squarely into the path of Cisco via a series of recent acquisitions and internally developed products.

At issue are technologies that were developed in Lucent's Bell Labs research and development arm and then allegedly were incorporated into some of Cisco's products.

Cisco refused to comment on the particulars of the suit. "We have not received a copy of the suit," a spokeswoman for the company said. "However, we are very disappointed in these claims."