Judge refuses to dismiss Netgear's router fraud lawsuit against Asus

Asus' attempt to kill Netgear's router lawsuit before it began has failed. On Thursday, federal judge Susan Illston refused Asus' request to dismiss the suit, as first reported by Law360.

Lawyer talk isn't usually the most exciting of topics, but Netgear's suit is chock full of more intrigue and scandal than an episode of Matlock. In August, Netgear cried shenanigans about two Asus wireless routers—the RT-N65U 802.11n and the RT-AC66U 802.11ac—claiming that Asus knowingly shipped the routers with higher wireless power settings than FCC regulations allow, giving the routers an illegal leg up over Netgear's own R6300 802.11ac router.

In our testing, Asus' RT-AC66U router indeed had a very small leg up over the Netgear model's performance, though both excelled.

Netgear claims Asus conspired with a third-party testing lab, QuieTek Corp., to submit false test results to the FCC, and it sued Asus for false advertising, unfair competition, tortious interference with could-be business relations, and antitrust violations.

“Our intention is to make sure they [Asus] stop shipping illegal routers, and we’ve requested damages and injunctive relief,” Sandeep Harpalani, Netgear’s director of product marketing, told PCWorld when the lawsuit was filed.

Asus quickly removed a number of older firmware updates for these routers from its website, but it also filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, claiming that Netgear's actions undermined the FCC's authority. Judge Illston denied the request on Thursday without allowing oral arguments, saying that if Netgear can prove Asus' results were falsified or that Asus modified its routers after the FCC testing, it would not undermine the FCC in any way.

So it's official: The court will decide whether or not Netgear's claims are valid. If they are, Asus is likely to find itself in some very hot water indeed. And if they're not, I'd wager Asus will slap Netgear with a gargantuan lawsuit in return.

For all the nitty gritty details and comments from Netgear officials, be sure to check out PCWorld's original reporting of the lawsuit. Asus originally refused to comment on the matter while it was in legislation; requests for comment today were bumped to the legal department, but the company has yet to provide a statement. We'll update this story if and when Asus provides a comment. 

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