A federal judge has overturned last year’s jury verdict that Limelight Networks infringed on patents owned by Akamai Technologies, marking a major reversal in the patent battle between the two leading content delivery networks. Last February a jury ordered Limelight to pay Akamai $45 million for infringing upon a patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,108,703 ) by Akamai founders Tom Leighton and Daniel Lewin.
On Friday afternoon a judge from the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts granted a motion from Limelight seeking top overturn the verdict.
“We are pleased the Court granted our motion for reconsideration in this matter and ruled in our favor,” said Jeff Lunsford, chairman and chief executive officer of Limelight Networks (LLNW). “We have long maintained that we do not infringe the ‘703 patent. 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.”
Akamai (AKAM) said it plans to appeal the juge’s ruling. In the meantime, Limelight said the ruling would allow it to free up $66 million it has reserved to pay potential damages, legal fees and other expenses associated with the case.
At the time of the Februart 2008 jury verdict, Limelight stated that “an unfavorable outcome could seriously impact the Company’s ability to conduct business” and that “a permanent injunction could prevent us from operating our CDN altogether.” In October Limelight said it had rewritten the content delivery network software it licensed to Microsoft Corp. If the revised software can support Limelight’s own network, it could reduce the impact of the Akamai patent ruling on Limelight’s ongoing operations.