Cisco has hit back at Lucent's recent lawsuit accusing it of patent infringement, slating the allegations as a mere marketing tactic.
Paul Mountford, UK managing director of Cisco, said: "It's defensive behaviour that has occurred because of a breakdown in talks over licensing agreements. The high margin opportunities are in data now and Lucent knows this. It is still perceived as a supplier of telecoms equipment to telcos and not as a player in the enterprise market."
Both Cisco and Lucent denied they have been in negotiations over a possible merger, following speculation at the Networks show last week.
The lawsuit, filed by Lucent on 18 June, is one of patent-infringement against Cisco which claims the networking vendor is unlawfully using eight out of its 25,000 patents relating to data networking equipment including routers, frame relay and ATM equipment.
Bill Price, senior executive of Lucent's data networking division, said: "We're flattered Cisco wants to use our patents, but imitation has its price. Eight out 25,000 patents would add up to a substantial part of Cisco's revenues."
He said the licensing negotiations had been going on for 18 months, which Cisco decided was too long, so it went ahead and used the patents anyway.
"Lucent is ready to battle anyone in the marketplace, but not ready to give anything away for free," he said.
Price stressed that Lucent spends #1.8 billion a year on R&D and that as far as he was concerned, "Cisco was hitching a free ride on Bell Labs and we must protect our intellectual property".
Price expects the US court to order Cisco to stop its patent-infringment and award Lucent substantial damages, although he refused to speculate on how much this would be.
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