Legal fight between Akamai and Speedera growing

Content delivery network providers Akamai Technologies Inc. and Speedera Networks Inc. remain locked in an escalating legal battle amid allegations of trade secret thefts and anticompetitive practices.

Both companies filed fresh legal action against each other Tuesday in a court fight that began in February when Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai sued Speedera for alleged patent infringement and false advertising.

With that case still pending, Akamai said this week that it had asked a California Superior Court judge to stop Speedera from continuing to access or use Akamai trade secrets. Akamai alleges that Speedera has stolen the information from a protected database maintained by a third-party provider of Web site testing services, collecting details about customers and prospective customers.

Jeff Young, an Akamai spokesman, said the company alleges that the information was compromised on at least 33 occasions since February by officials at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Speedera. "This is information that was not supposed to be accessed," Young said.

On Wednesday, Akamai was in San Francisco Superior Court asking for a restraining order against Speedera. The court set a July 24 hearing date on the request.

Speedera said yesterday in a statement that it will seek a preliminary injunction against Akamai to stop the company's alleged anticompetitive activities.

On Tuesday, Speedera said in a statement that its lawsuit against Akamai, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, alleges unfair competition, false advertising, trade libel and intentional interference with prospective business advantage.

"We're dismayed that, despite our lawsuit filed earlier this week, Akamai has continued its attempts to misrepresent Speedera in order to restrict competitive choice," Ajit Gupta, president and CEO of Speedera, said in a statement. "We have evidence that, as recently as yesterday, Akamai defamed our company with false and damaging allegations in conversations with a prospect."

Gordon Smith, vice president of marketing for Speedera, said Akamai's charges against his company are an attempt "to achieve in the courtroom what they could not do in the marketplace."

"We think the reason they're so worried about us is that they're losing customers to us because of their inflated prices," Smith said.

Smith acknowledged an Akamai claim that FBI officials visited Speedera's offices on Monday and conducted a "limited search" on behalf of Akamai. Smith refused further comment on whether anything was taken by the FBI and said the company hasn't yet seen a sealed affidavit for the search.

On Monday, Speedera prefaced the week's legal actions with an announcement that it expects to be profitable within 90 days.

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