Software Piracy beyond the Street Corner

Powerful Essays
Software Piracy beyond the Street Corner

On January 23, 2003, the world’s leading computer networking equipment maker Cisco Systems, headquartered in San Jose California, filed a lawsuit against China-based Huawei Technologies and its United States subsidiaries Huawei America and FutureWei Technologies. In the lawsuit, Cisco alleged that Huawei stole intellectual property by copying its Internet Operating System (IOS) software and its copyrighted user manuals. Cisco also claimed that Huawei infringed on its patents. After numerous failed attempts to resolve these complaints directly with Huawei, which included a cease and desist letter to one of Huawei’s United Kingdom distributors, Cisco decided that a lawsuit was necessary to protect the company and its shareholder’s interests. The lawsuit was processed through United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. This paper will provide an overview of this landmark case and discuss whether each company had a different view of ethics that originated from differing cultural perspectives.

I. Case Background

Cisco Systems’ 77 page complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Easter District of Texas demanded a trial by jury in response to Huawei’s misappropriation and intellectual property infringement in the development of its competing Quidway routers. One of Huawei’s United States based wholly-owned subsidiary, FutureWei, is located in Plano, Texas; the other subsidiary Huawei America is located in California’s Silicon Valley, nearby Cisco Systems’ headquarters. The China-based parent company is a multi-billion dollar corporation that has manufactured network and telecommunications equipment since 1988.

Huawei marketed its Quidway router...

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... “Huawei: Cisco Code is Gone,” April 15, 2003,

[3] “Cisco Wins Huawei Injunction,” June 9, 2003,

[4] “Managing in the Multicultural Environment”, Charis Intercultural Training Corporation, 2004.

[5] “Differences of Opinion: The Cisco-Huawei Lawsuit”, The Hoffman Agency, China High Tech PR Newsletter,

[6] “WTO Ministerial Conference Approves China’s Accession”, November 10, 2001 Press Release,

[7] The United States and China: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Protection,

[8] Baase, S.; A Gift of Fire, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 2003.

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