Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Patent Battle Royale: Akamai v. Speedera: Speedera Networks spends almost as much money on lawyers as it does on payroll for its roughly 100 employees.

Most of those legal bills are from the Santa Clara start-up's bitter cross-country fight with its much larger rival, Akamai Technologies of Massachusetts. The two companies offer competing services for helping Web sites with heavy traffic speed content along the Internet.

Speedera's existence in recent years has been as much about litigation as innovation.

The conflict with Akamai has been festering ever since it erupted two years ago. It started when Akamai sued Speedera, resulting in a series of lawsuits and countersuits over patent disputes.

The FBI at one point even searched Speedera's offices after Akamai claimed that a Speedera executive had stolen trade secrets.

The spat is likely to heat up again next year, when the first of the four cases involved in the battle goes to trial in February.

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