April 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

Limelight wins a round in a patent lawsuit, but Akamai says it will appeal

Akamai sued rival content delivery network Limelight over technology that allows a far-flung network of servers to deliver content to web sites. Akamai won a $45.5 million judgment in November, but a federal judge last week set aside that finding.

A federal judge in Massachusetts last week set aside a jury verdict that Limelight Networks Inc. had violated patents of rival content delivery network Akamai Technologies Inc. Akamai immediately announced plans to appeal the decision and seek reinstatement of the original verdict and a $45.5 million judgment against Limelight.

U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel cited new case law in reversing the jury verdict. That new case law came from a federal appeals court decision in a case entitled MiniAuction Inc. v. Thomson Corp.

Akamai claims Limelight violated U.S. patent 6,108,703 issued in the name of Akamai founders Tom Leighton and the late Danny Lewin. Limelight maintained that it did not infringe the patent and developed its own technology for using widely distributed networks to deliver web content, such as images and video, to web sites.

"This ruling affirms that Limelight Networks respects the intellectual property of others, and that our growth and success have been achieved through our own innovation, hard work, and customer-focused operations,” says Jeff Lunsford, chairman and chief executive officer of Limelight. “We look forward to continued collaboration with our customers and partners as we work to enable a global shift in content consumption from closed to open networks, where consumers can enjoy their desired content whenever, wherever and on whatever connected device they choose."

Court documents show Akamai filed the lawsuit in 2006 after Limelight ended negotiations on a proposed acquisition of Limelight by Akamai.

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