Cisco Beats Arista in Patent Claim Battle

In December 2014, Cisco filed a lawsuit against rival switch vendor Arista, claiming that Arista infringed on 14 U.S patents. In February of this year, Cisco won an initial ruling on three patents. Yesterday’s final determination ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) confirmed the judgement.

“The Commission has determined that an appropriate form of relief is a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry of network devices, related software and components,” the ITC ruling stated.

According to Arista however, the company has already released a new version of its EOS network operating software firmware that is updated with what the company refers to as ‘design-arounds’ that address the ITC’s finding. Arista noted in a release that it intends to seek the appropriate regulatory approvals for its EOS design-arounds.

The three patents in question are: U.S. Patent 7,162,537 (“[E]xternally Managing Router Configuration Data … With A Centralized Database”) (Sysdb) and U.S. Patent Nos. 6,741,592 and 7,200,145 (Private VLANs).

“This marks the end of Arista’s ability to mislead its shareholders and customers about the infringing nature of their products,” Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler wrote in a blog post.

Chandler also expects a ruling about another pair of Cisco patents that Arista is allegedly infringing upon to come in August. Additionally, Cisco is pushing for a November trial with Arista on yet more issues related to alleged patent and copyright infringement of Cisco’s proprietary interface and related materials.

For its’ part Arista has a different view on Cisco’s actions.

“Despite Cisco’s rhetoric claiming that the lawsuits are a defensive move to protect its intellectual property, these actions are clearly part of a broader effort to use litigation to preserve Cisco’s market position,” Marc Taxay, Senior Vice President, General Counsel for Arista, said in a statement. “If allowed to succeed, Cisco’s scheme would have a chilling effect on innovation.”

Arista was formed in October of 2008, largely by former Cisco employees. Arista’s CEO, Jayshree Ullal, spent 15 years at Cisco.

“Cisco’s goal has always been to protect our innovation, and stop Arista from using our patented technology,” Chandler stated.

Arista’s Taxay stated that, “While we will defend our rights in these actions, our primary focus remains on the continued supply of products to our customers.”


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

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