A US federal judge has temporarily blocked Chinese router vendor Huawei Technologies and two related companies from distributing software and user manuals related to Cisco Systems software.
Employees familiar with that software have also been barred from developing similar products.
Cisco sued Huawei, Huawei America and FutureWei in January, charging that the companies had copied and misappropriated Cisco software, copied copyright manuals and infringed patents.
Huawei, based in Shenzhen, China, competes with Cisco in the worldwide market for enterprise and service-provider routers and is a recent entrant to the US market.
The preliminary injunction by Judge T John Ward, of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, doesn't end the case but defines what Huawei can't do while Cisco's complaints are being weighed.
The injunction keeps Huawei from selling or using any operating system that contains or is derived from Cisco's EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) source code; using any employee who recently worked with EIGRP in the development of comparable functionality in Huawei's VRP (Versatile Route Platform) software; or distributing manuals in the US or online help files that copy or are substantially similar to copyrighted Cisco versions.
Both sides welcomed the injunction.
“With this ruling, the Court found that the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Huawei's blatant copying of Cisco’s intellectual property warrant an equally extraordinary remedy,” Cisco vice-president and general counsel, Mark Chandler, said.
In the next phase of the case, Chandler said Cisco looked forward to having Huawei's source code reviewed to determine the full extent of the copying.
Huawei said the ruling was narrow and related to past products.
“Nothing in the preliminary injunction relates at all to new versions of the products. Before Cisco initiated its legal action against Huawei, the company had already taken good faith, voluntary action to proactively remove from the US market the obsolete products outlined in the injunction,” an Huawei spokesperson said.