Suit against Cisco names products, damages

A US company suing Cisco for alleged patent infringement has named 110 products it claims infringe on its patents, worth damages totaling US$8.8 billion.

ConnecTel, a developer of routing technology, sued Cisco last year, claiming Cisco is using without compensation a set of technologies that ConnecTel founder Allen Kaplan invented in the 1990s. ConnecTel filed its complaint on Tuesday last week in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, in Marshall, Texas.

At that time, ConnecTel did not name specific routing and switching products that it claims infringe on its patents nor did it quantify monetary damages. Now, it is doing both.

Of the 110 products that ConnecTel claims violate its patents are Cisco's new Carrier Routing Systems core router technology; certain models of the 12000 series Internet routers; models of the Catalyst 6500 and 4000 series switches; discontinued products, like the LightStream 1010 ATM switches; and Cisco's IOS routing software.

At the heart of the complaint is an intelligent data routing system that can choose the best data path and transmission method in real time, based on multiple factors including bandwidth, availability, security and the user's priority, according to the complaint. Kaplan applied for patents on the technology in 1996.

Kaplan originally developed the routing technology as a way to streamline the delivery of faith-based inspirational faxes. He and a partner founded ConnecTel to commercialize the routing system but the company has never made products itself, choosing instead to license the technology to other companies.

ConnecTel introduced its technology to Cisco and offered the company a chance to license it, and Cisco rejected the offer only to later develop product lines that used it, according to the complaint.

Cisco made the following statement about the suit: "After having reviewed the lawsuit, Cisco believes ConnecTel's claims are without merit. Cisco successfully competes in the market by innovating and developing its own world-class products and technologies.

"Contrary to ConnecTel's claim, an offer was never made for Cisco to license the patents at issue in this case.

"Cisco looks forward to defending itself vigorously against these baseless claims and fully expects to prevail in court."

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