Arista Claims New Victory in Patent Battle with Cisco

There is little love lost between networking vendors Arista and Cisco. While the two vendors compete aggressively for clients in the marketplace, they are also competing in the courtroom over alleged patent infractions.

The court battle has been ongoing since December 2014, when Cisco filed its initial legal complaint, alleging that Arista infringed on 14 of Cisco’s U.S patents.

The latest round in the case was settled on April 7 of this year, with Arista announcing that U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will allow redesigned Arista products into the U.S. as they were not found to be in violation of three Cisco patents.

“This follows the January 15, 2017 decision by CBP to revoke its November 18, 2016 ruling that our redesigned products do not infringe the ’145, ’592, and ’537 patents,” Arista stated. “In connection with the revocation, CBP conducted an inter parties proceeding, in which both Arista and Cisco presented arguments, before issuing the April 7th ruling.”

In addition to the CBP determination, there are still ongoing deliberations in front of the International Trade Commission (ITC) on the status of multiple Cisco patents, that allegedly are being infringed by Arista products.

The three patents in the latest ruling are  officially known as U.S. Patent 7,162,537 (“[E]xternally Managing Router Configuration Data … With A Centralized Database”) (Sysdb), U.S. Patent Nos. 6,741,592 and 7,200,145 (Private VLANs). Cisco initially claimed victory on the three patent infringement cases in June 2016 after an ITC ruling. Arista however claimed that it had already released a new version of its EOS networking operating system that implemented workarounds for the areas where the patents were allegedly infringed.

For its’ part, Cisco isn’t all that happy with the latest CBP determination.

“Earlier this week, we presented evidence and testimony to the ITC judge in this case, and await his determination – along with that of the Commission – whether Arista’s redesign continues to infringe,” Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler, wrote in a blog post. “It has always been our goal in these actions for Arista to stop using Cisco’s proprietary technologies, and our enforcement proceedings are a key step in determining whether Arista’s redesigned products use IP copied from Cisco.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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