Cisco's John Chambers To IT Industry: Stop Suing Each Other!

John Chambers CiscoCisco CEO John Chambers

Photo: AP

Cisco’s John Chambers wagged his finger today at Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and other IT companies running amok with patent lawsuits and told them they need to cut it out.”IT companies should not be suing peers,” he said during an onstage interview at the Gartner Symposium conference taking place in Orlando this week. Suing each other “slows down the industry. It is a mess. It is unacceptable.”

He’d like to see the whole patent law system thrown out and started afresh too, because there are “patent trolls everywhere,” he said. Cisco is constantly being sued by so-called patent trolls, which are companies that buy patents just to shake down big IT players for cash.

For instance, earlier this month it banded with Motorola and NetGear to fight a particularly insidious patent troll, Innovatio, who filed a bunch of suits against restaurants and hotels, claiming that anyone who used WiFi was violating its patents, reported TechDirt.

On the other hand, Cisco isn’t against using patent litigation when it serves its own purposes.

It’s in a battle with TiVo right now over DVR patents. Last summer Cisco filed a lawsuit to try and nullify four of TiVo’s DVR patents because TiVo wouldn’t licence the technology to Cisco so Cisco could make DVRs that compete with TiVo. With Cisco’s $5 billion purchase of DVR maker NDS, that battle is likely to get uglier, and TiVo could win. TiVo has, so far, won settlements from others that have topped $1 billion including Dish, AT&T and Verizon.

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