A Swiss provider of cloud-based network management and maintenance services has reported Cisco to enforcement agencies for the alleged theft of thousands of its proprietary and copyrighted data files.
Multiven says it is "seeking civil redress" following what it says is Cisco's failure to issue a public apology for the "cyber-theft of Multiven's knowledge base mysolvr".
On 12 March, Multiven says it gave Cisco the opportunity to avoid a civil redress if it issued a public apology by 29 March.
Responding to Multiven's initial complaint Cisco stated: "This is yet another false accusation from Multiven, and we strongly reject this claim. The only access that Cisco has ever had to Multiven content is through its website, which is readily available to the general public."
Cisco says it is being accused of "web scraping" Multiven data between December 2009 and January 2010, and that Multiven accuses it of having access to all of Multiven's customer data, which it says "breaches a number of federal cyber theft regulations".
Cisco added: "Further, it's important to note that Multiven's CEO is currently under federal indictment in the US for behaviour - including stealing Cisco software in violation of the federal Anti-Hacking Statute - similar to their own accusations."
Multiven now claims that before the expiration of its deadline, Cisco "admitted in writing to Multiven that it had indeed used web-scraping as a means to unlawfully access, without authorisation, thousands of Multiven proprietary and copyrighted files".
Multiven says Cisco refused to apologise, claiming that it "resorted to this theft as part of its 'discovery' during Multiven's federal anti-trust lawsuit against it ('Multiven v.Cisco)". The antitrust case was previously settled.
Peter Alfred-Adekeye, Multiven CEO and a British citizen who once worked for Cisco as an engineer, said: "There are clear legal guidelines to discovery in litigation and Cisco resorting to stealing all the proprietary data in Multiven's knowledge-base, while causing denial-of-service on multiple occasions, is not one of them."
Multiven has since forwarded what it claims is Cisco's "admission of guilt" to the US Department of Justice "via the San Francisco office of the US Secret Service", and the Swiss Cybercrime Coordination Unit, a law enforcement body.
Cisco has publicly released the legal response Multiven refers to however, which denies any wrongdoing and which does not contain any obvious "admission of guilt".
In the legal response Cisco says it requested copies of publicly available web pages from Multiven's website to be used in the anti-trust case. It says that when it did not receive those copies from Multiven it went ahead and took its own copies.
It says it no longer has those copies in its possession and that it has not previously used them for any commercial purposes.
It will now be up to the bodies Multiven has complained to to make their own judgements on the merit of Multiven's complaints.