Cisco Sues Arista for Alleged Patent Infringement

Arista infringed on 14 U.S. patents, Cisco lawsuits allege.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Dec 5, 2014
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Cisco today announced that it is taking legal action against Arista Networks for alleged patent infringement.

According to Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler, the two lawsuits filed by Cisco take aim at "Arista’s repeated and pervasive copying of key inventions in Cisco products."

Specifically, Cisco is alleging infringement on 14 different U.S. patents, including:

  • System Database (“SysDB”): Arista uses Cisco’s networking device implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,162,537
  • Zero-Touch Provisioning (“ZTP”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,290,164
  • On Board Failure Logging (“OBFL”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No.7,340,597
  • Control Plane Policing (“CoPP”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,224,668
  • Spanning Tree Loop Guard: Arista uses Cisco’s implementations, covered by Cisco Patent Nos. 7,460,492 & 7,061,875
  • In-Service System Upgrades (“ISSU”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, described by Cisco Patent No. 8,356,296
  • Virtual Port Channels (“vPC”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No 8,051,211
  • Access Control ListsImprovements (“ACL”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent Nos. 7,023,853 & 6,377,577
  • Private Virtual Local Area Networks (“Private VLANs”): Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent Nos. 6,741,592 & 7,200,145
  • Generic Command Interface: Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,047,526
  • CLI Command Data Translation: Arista uses Cisco’s implementation, covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,953,886

Chandler noted that all 14 patents listed in the lawsuits were invented by former Cisco employees who now work at Arista.

"These Cisco-created features and implementations are incorporated by Arista in their entirety into Arista’s products," Chandler said.

Arista was formed in October of 2008, largely by former Cisco employees. Arista's CEO, Jayshree Ullal, spent 15 years at Cisco; her last year included a keynote at the Interop conference which was beset by technical difficulties.

Cisco is not pulling any punches in its language on the Arista legal suits either.

"We are asking for official action to stop Arista’s brazen misappropriation of the fruits of our engineers’ labor, and we will take whatever further steps are needed to block Arista from that misappropriation," Chandler said.

Arista and Cisco are not the first combination of networking vendors in recent years to spar over patents that former employees used at new companies. Juniper Networks this year settled its long-standing dispute with Palo Alto Networks, a company founded by former Juniper executives.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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