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Citrix hurls patent suit at network tiddler Avi, claims rival smeared NetScaler

And expresses some anxiety about ex-staff leaving for upstart

Citrix has launched a patent suit against rival Avi Networks accusing it of patent infringement and of spreading "false claims" about Citrix's NetScaler networking products.

The patent dispute centres around Avi's Vantage Platform, a software-defined application service. "Avi Networks is using Citrix's patented technology without a license or Citrix's permission," it alleged in the complaint.

The filing to Delaware District Court last month said the firm was bringing about the action to stop Avi Networks' "improper conduct, to recover damages for that conduct (including Avi Networks' wrongful use of its patented technology in the Infringing Products) and to stop Avi Networks from further deceptive statements and marketing and selling the Infringing Products without a license".

However, the firm also seems to be more broadly concerned with its intellectual property. In the filing it noted that since its founding in 2012, Avi Networks has recruited a number of Citrix employees, including senior Citrix executives, to work at Avi Networks.

"For example, Avi Networks' current CEO, Amit Pandey, previously worked at Citrix as the Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Solutions following Citrix’s acquisition of Zenprise, Inc. in January 2013.

"Moreover, since Avi Networks was formed, several other Citrix employees have left to join that company, bringing with them their knowledge of Citrix's products and intellectual property."

It accused the firm of "intentionally making numerous false and misleading claims about Citrix's NetScaler technology on Avi Networks' website, which is accessible by consumers nationwide including in Delaware".

In 2016, Citrix reported annual revenue of $3.42bn (£2.5bn). In contrast, venture capitalist-backed Avi is a relative minnow, having raised $52m in three rounds of funding.

Amit Pandey, chief exec of Avi Networks, said: Avi intends to "vigorously defend itself against Citrix’s lawsuit."

He said the firm "respects any valid and enforceable intellectual property rights of others," adding: “We also support principles of fair competition in the marketplace and adhere to lawful, ethical and fair practices in our advertising. We have the claims and believe they are without merit." ®

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