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Arista infringes on Cisco networking patents, trade agency says

Michael Cooney | June 24, 2016
The ITC remedies include an exclusion order, which would ban all Arista switches and their components from importation into the US and a cease and desist blocking the use to build infringing products in the US

Cisco began its legal proceedings on December 19, 2014 by filing two lawsuits against Arista. One suit is for patent infringement, which charges Arista with violating 14 Cisco patents for 12 features in the Arista EOS operating system. The second suit is for extensive copying of Cisco’s user manuals and command line structures, right down to the grammatical errors within them, Network World wrote at the time.

The complaint alleged violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain network devices, related software, and components thereof that infringe patents asserted by Cisco Systems.  Cisco wants the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

Arista in January filed a counterclaim to Cisco’s copyright infringement suit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, for antitrust and unfair competition. Arista alleges Cisco conducts a “bait and switch” with its command line interface in which it claims it is an industry standard and then attempts to penalize competitors for emulating it.

The ITC in April granted a full review of certain patents in the now 15-month old patent suit between Cisco and Arista.

Specifically the ITC granted full review of the three patents that Arista is allegedly infringing under the initial determination issued by the presiding judge on Feb 2. In February the ITC made an initial determination that Arista Networks infringed on three Cisco patents in its switches -- patents associated with a central database for managing configuration data (SysDB) and private VLANs.

At the time of that ruling Cisco said, “none of the patents have been proposed for or adopted as industry standards. And all patents we asserted against Arista were invented either by Cisco employees who became Arista executives, or by engineers who worked for Arista executives when employed at Cisco.”


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