UPDATE: F5 files lawsuits over Web persistence patent

F5 Networks Inc. has been awarded a patent for its Cookie Persistence technology and has filed an infringement lawsuit against three companies for violating the patent.

The Seattle Application Traffic Management company has been awarded U.S. patent number 6,473,802, entitled "Method and System for Storing Load Balancing Information with an HTTP cookie." This technology stores a cookie on a customer's computer to allow that customer to reconnect to the same server he or she previously visited on a Web site. A shopper, for instance, can go back and access information stored in a "shopping cart," F5 said in a statement Friday. Without its technology, the customer would go back to the Web site but may be directed to another server which does not have the necessary information.

Having been awarded the patent, F5 has filed a patent infringement suit against Array Networks Inc., NetScaler Inc. and Radware Ltd. in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, looking for "permanent injunctive relief and damages," it said.

Jeff Pancotinne, senior vice president of marketing and business development at F5, said Monday that the suit was filed after the company did several months of research into whether the defendants were infringing on the patent.

While he added that the patent could also apply to other companies, Pancotinne said that F5 looked at Array Networks, NetScaler and Radware first because they are competitors and F5 had heard from customers that they were using similar technologies.

The company is, however, "evaluating everyone" on whether the patent was being infringed upon, he said.

F5 filed for the patent in 1999 and received it in October of last year.

"We plan on pursuing these types of things and protecting our (intellectual property) aggressively because we've spent a lot of time and money on them," Pancotinne said.

Representatives for the defendants were not immediately available to comment Monday.

A court date has yet to be set in the case.

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