Cisco, Arista End Legal Dispute on Networking Patents

In an unexpected move, Cisco and Arista issued a joint statement on Aug. 6, bringing to an end four years of a bitter legal battle over networking patents.

“Cisco and Arista have come to an agreement which resolves existing litigation and demonstrates their commitment to the principles of IP protection,” the two companies wrote in a joint statement. “They have agreed that, with limited exceptions, no new litigation will be brought over patents or copyrights related to existing products, for five years.”

According to the statement, Arista and Cisco will use an arbitration process to address any patent issues regarding new products that come out in the next three years.

The biggest part of the joint announcement is the disclosure of a one-time cash payment of $400 million that Arista is making to Cisco.

The legal dispute between Cisco and Arista had been ongoing since December 2014, when Cisco first sued Arista. Ever since there had been a seesaw of back and forth legal decisions, with each side claiming victory at different points.

“As part of this agreement, Arista will be making a $400 million payment to Cisco, is committed to maintaining the product modifications it made as a result of previous rulings, and will be making limited changes to further differentiate its user interfaces from Cisco’s,” the joint statement notes. “Arista and Cisco will continue to seek appellate court review of the scènes à faire verdict in the earlier trial regarding legal protection for user interfaces.”

The new agreement comes barely a week after Arista announced its second quarter fiscal 2018 financial results. For the quarter, Arista reported revenue of $519.8 million for a 28 percent year-over-year gain.

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

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