Brocade Communications filed a suit earlier this month, claiming that A10 Networks has illegally used Foundry’s used trade secrets by recruiting top Foundry employees; so as to create application delivery products that are now competing with Application delivery products being offered by Brocade.
Brocade, based in San Jose, California, asked for a jury trial, unspecified damages and an order to stop A10 from selling infringing products in the U.S., in a complaint filed April 23 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.
Brocade is suing A10 by alleging patent infringement, breach of contract, unfair practices in competition and… . The suit is against A10, its founder and three other employees. Brocade acquired Foundry Networks in 2008. As per the claims by Brocade, A10 founder Lee Chen used proprietary knowledge for creating his company and its products. Chen, who was the co-founder of Foundry and also its VP (Software Engineering] before leaving Foundry in 2004.
The complaint was filed on August 04, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Jose. Per Brocade, having access to intellectual property allowed A10 to come out with competitive products in 2 to 3 years, in place of 7 to 10 years; that is pretty normal for any new player.
A10 declined to pass any comment on the lawsuit, citing that they do not comment on pending litigations.
As per Brocade, Chen started ”Raksha Networks” even before he left Foundry & after his departure, “Raksha networks” was renamed as “A10″. Chen was in touch with previous employees via e-mail and also socialized with them & recruited them to work at A10, the suit alleges. 24 out of 67 employees at A10 are former Foundry and Brocade employees.
Key engineers who knew the content of Foundry’s patents built products for A10. e.g. Rajkumar Jalan was the chief architect of Foundry’s ServerIron data-center switch line, Ron Szeto was a senior engineer who worked on those products, and David Cheung was a software engineer at Foundry and Brocade working on Layer 4-7 routing products. These three are also named in the suit, citing confidentiality violations.
Brocade claims that Chen, Jalan and Szeto still have one or more unauthorized copies of Foundry’s source code & other business information like “key personnel of Brocades customers”.
Brocade has charges that A10 has infringed nine of its patents. Brocade seeks discontinuation of products that use its trade secrets & wants the intellectual property back & compensation for damages.
FYI - Brocade, with $1.95 billion in sales last fiscal year, may be an attractive takeover target for computer maker Dell Inc., according to a recent report from Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc.
This clearly shows the cut throat competition in Silicon Valley networking companies. Closely held A10, also based in San Jose, was founded in 2004 and has offices in the U.S., U.K., France, the Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan, according to its Web site.
A10 spokeswoman Kelly LeBlanc didn’t immediately reply to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.