C&W, Akamai call truce over patent lawsuits

FRAMINGHAM (11/07/2003) - Ending a back-and-forth legal scuffle that began more than three years ago, Cable and Wireless PLC and Akamai Technologies Inc. Friday announced they are dropping the handful of patent infringement lawsuits that they have filed against each other.

As part of their agreement, C&W has agreed to dismiss lawsuits it filed against Akamai in Boston, San Francisco and London, claiming that Akamai's EdgeSuite services infringe on C&W's content delivery patents. For its part, Akamai agreed to dismiss several of the patent infringement lawsuits it had filed against C&W. Neither company admitted liability or provided any compensation as part of the agreement.

The two companies have been bickering over content-delivery patents since 2000, when Akamai fired the initial volley by claiming that Digital Island, later acquired by C&W, used Akamai-patented technology as part of its Footprint content delivery service. The agreement announced Friday, however, does not cover that case, in which a federal jury in Boston determined that C&W was indeed infringing on the Akamai patent.

C&W claims it no longer uses the technology in question, but Akamai is continuing to press for damages.

"A judge limited the scope of Akamai's claims to a CDN technology previously used by Cable & Wireless America to support a small number of customers. Cable & Wireless America expects any damages that might be awarded to be immaterial to its business," C&W said in a statement.

Also as part of the agreement announced Friday, the companies must refrain from suing each other for five years over existing patents and services.