ITC upholds finding that Arista infringed on two Cisco patents

Cisco 'preserving market position at expense of competition,' says Arista

The US International Trade Commission has upheld a judgement that Arista Networks infringed two Cisco Systems patents on networking equipment - the latest round in a long-running legal battle between the companies.

In a judgement last week, the federal agency called for an import ban and a cease and desist order on related products. Its decision upheld findings of an administrative law judge in December that switches sold by Arista infringed Cisco's patents.

Mark Chandler, Cisco’s senior vice president and general counsel, wrote in blog post company blog post: "The Commission’s decision is the latest of several findings that Arista has intentionally and unlawfully copied Cisco’s proprietary technology."

Chandler wrote that “by confirming Administrative Law Judge McNamara’s Initial Determination, the Commission brings the total confirmed Arista patent violations to five".

The ITC action is one of two Cisco has brought against Arista. In the other, the ITC found Arista infringed three of five patents related to Ethernet switch products.

"Cisco’s goal remains to force Arista to cease the intentional and pervasive infringement that comes from its 'culture of copying'," he said.

However, in a statement sent to Network World, Marc Taxay, Arista vice president and general counsel said the company believes Cisco's litigation "is part of a broader effort to preserve its market position at the expense of competition and innovation."

He said: "Cisco's motives are revealed through its assertion of the '577 patent against a 20-year-old technology that is embedded in standard chips we buy off the shelf from vendors like many others in our industry including Cisco.

"Cisco has never asserted these patents against any other network switch vendor or third party chip supplier. And, given that it filed its patent application for this technology in 1998, and the patent expires in June 2018, Cisco has had ample years to do so.”

The companies have been locked in a dispute for some time. In April, Arista was cleared by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to start shipping modified products to the United States again under a separate patent dispute.

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