UK distie fights Cisco injunction

Spot the difference

A Shropshire distie is threatening to report Cisco to the DTI for uncompetitive behaviour after the networking giant's lawyers began moves to stop it selling kit from Chinese equipment manufacturer Huawei.

Spot Distribution's robust response comes after receiving a "cease and desist" letter from Cisco for distributing Huawei products that allegedly copy Cisco's intellectual property.

In a parallel move, Cisco yesterday announced it had filed a law suit in Texas alleging that Huawei "unlawfully copied and misappropriated Cisco's IOS software, including source code, copied Cisco documentation and other copyrighted materials, and infringed numerous Cisco patents."

Cisco accusations against Huawei are unusually detailed. Amongst other things, it alleges the operating system used by Huawei's Quidway routers and switches "contains a number of text strings, file names, and bugs that are identical to those found in Cisco's IOS source code".

Spot Distribution claims Cisco's actions against it and Huawei are unfounded. Huawei has not stolen Cisco's technology, it says, arguing that the networking giant is running scared of its competition.

In a statement issued today, George (Georgina) Wellings, a director at Spot Distribution, stated: "On inspecting the Huawei manuals we have in stock, it appears that Spot Distribution Ltd has no case to answer."

"We hope this attempt to prevent the distribution of Huawei products is not just the result of a major manufacturer running scared of the competition."

Casting herself in the role of David (Davina?) against Cisco's Goliath, Wellings is reaching for her slingshot.

"It is our intention to refer this matter to the Office of Fair Trading and DTI to ensure there has been no attempt to act in an anti-competitive manner," she added.

We wanted to discuss the legal basis of this unorthodox move with Spot Distribution (along with other matters), but no directors were available for comment at the time of going to press. ®

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