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Akamai Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Digital Island

Akamai and Digital Island have stepped into the legal ring to fight out a battle over which company owns the patent, which protects aspects of the technology critical to content delivery service. Akamai (http://www.akamai.com) announced today that it has filed a patent infringement suit against Digital Island ( http://www.digitalisland.com). Digital Island consequently announced that they are suing Akamai for using a related technology for which Digital Island owns the patent.

Akamai's suit against Digital Island involves U.S. Patent No. 6,108,703, entitled "Global Hosting System," which issued from the United States Patent & Trademark Office on August 22, 2000. The '703 patent was granted to MIT in the names of Tom Leighton, Akamai's Chief Scientist, and Danny Lewin, Akamai's Chief Technology Officer. MIT has licensed the patent to Akamai on an exclusive basis.

According to Akamai, their patent covers certain "innovative aspects" of Akamai's FreeFlow content delivery service. Akamai alleges that Digital Island's current version of their Footprint delivery service makes use of their patented technology. Akamai's suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on September 13th, and seeks damages and equitable relief.

Digital Island subsequently announced that they have filed an Interference Action with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against Akamai Technologies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Digital Island states that it has patent pending claims for the same inventions claimed by MIT and believes its own claims have priority over the MIT claim, as its patent claims pre-date MIT's. Digital Island's claims on this technology are the result of their acquisition of Sandpiper Networks, which originally filed the patent claim.

Digital Island, also filed suit against Akamai in the U.S. District Court for the District of California this morning alleging that Akamai is infringing their patent for a similar technology. This patent, which Digital Island announced last Monday, was granted to Digital Island for the technology that uses unique "fingerprints" of content for many different applications. The patent covers multiple uses of these "fingerprints," including identifying files in data communication applications such as downloading, copying, backup and caching.

Jeff Young, a spokesman for Akamai, stated that the company was not surprised by Digital Island's reaction to their suit. Young considers Digital Island's filings, "classic legal maneuvering."

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