Radware Fixes Legal Guns on F5

Radware files patent lawsuit in N.J. court against content networking rival F5 Networks

July 21, 2004

2 Min Read
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Another day, another lawsuit.

Application switching firm Radware Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDWR) has filed a lawsuit alleging that F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) infringed one of its key technology patents.

According to legal documents filed by Radware with the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, the patent concerns a method for load balancing client requests among redundant network servers in different geographical locations. The Mahwah, N.J.-based firm received the patent in April this year (see Radware Gets Load Balancing Patent), and the technology has already been incorporated into the companys flagship Web Server Director (WSD) product, it says.

Now Radware is going after F5, claiming that its rival’s 3-DNS and Big-IP products infringe the patent. When contacted by Next-Gen Data Center Forum, a spokeswoman for F5 declined to comment.

In a statement released earlier today, Radware CEO Roy Zisapel said that the company had been forced to take legal action to protect its R&D investment: “Unfortunately, we learned that, in order to protect our intellectual property and our investment in R&D we must, in certain cases, resort to legal action."Radware’s aggressive stance reflects the growing competition in the load balancing space, with a number of vendors vying to assume the mantle of technology leader. And F5 has past experience with patent wrangles.

Last year F5 and NetScaler Inc. settled a patent dispute concerning F5’s “Cookie Persistence” patent for traffic management and load balancing products. As part of the settlement, the two firms entered into a cross-license agreement, and NetScaler agreed to pay F5 an undisclosed licensing fee (see F5, NetScaler Settle Patent Dispute).

But Cindy Borovick, director of data center networks at analyst firm IDC, warns that legal disputes of this type often become drawn-out affairs, although she admits that they can enable firms to establish their technological dominance. “The benefit of pursuing intellectual property rights is to showcase to the market that you are the actual technology innovator,” she says.

”But the downside is that it can be a distraction,” she adds.

Patent disputes can certainly be an expensive business. Last week Marconi Corp. plc (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI) announced a lump sum payment of $21 million to settle a long-running patent dispute with Telcordia Technologies Inc. (see Telcordia Pockets Patent Payment).— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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