Cable and Wireless slaps Akamai with new patent suit

In an extended brawl over patent rights, Cable and Wireless PLC (C&W) said Tuesday that it filed suit against Akamai Technologies Inc. for infringing on a new patent it attained relating to content delivery networks (CDN).

The suit, filed in a Boston federal court, is just the latest in a round of patent infringement suits that the two companies have exchanged. C&W has taken Akamai to court over patent infringement claims before, and likewise, Akamai has sued the U.K. company for infringing on two of its CDN-related patents.

However, the suit filed this week involves a patent C&W was granted earlier this month, covering various content-delivery algorithms and systems. The suit claims that Akamai's EdgeSuite CDN product and Akamaizer tool, which prepares content to be accessed by the CDN, infringes on C&W's new patent.

"We just want to protect our intellectual property," said Cable and Wireless lawyer Howard Lasky.

Akamai denied allegations of impropriety, however.

"We are confident that Akamai does not infringe the new patent," Paul Sagan, president of Akamai, said in the statement issued Tuesday.

"Given the timing of this new suit, it appears that Cable and Wireless decided to act simply to divert attention from the permanent injunction that is expected to be issued against them this summer ... as a result of a jury finding that Cable and Wireless' Footprint content delivery service infringes Akamai patent rights," Sagan said.

The new suit is just the latest in a legal volley between the two rivals, but also one that could potentially come at a high cost to Akamai. According to Lasky, C&W's patent infringement claim covers the entire scope of Akamai's business, and could potentially shut the company down if the court decides in C&W's favor.

Akamai maintains, however, that the matter is irrelevant to the company's operations. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company has yet to detail how it intends to fight the claims.

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