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Arista-cats win some, lose some against Cisco

Upside: it could be all over by September

Both Cisco and Arista have claimed victory in the latest instalment of their intellectual property lawsuit.

The punch-and-counterpunch case dates back to 2014, when Switchzilla sued the then-startup for patent violations and over the copyright attached to its command-line interface (CLI).

While trying to fend off the accusations of IP theft, Arista's also had a rearguard action to keep its kit flowing into America in the face of International Trade Commuission (ITC) import bans.

Over time, the scope of Cisco's patent complaint has been narrowed down to two patents, a decision upheld by the ITC earlier this month.

Last week's movement in the case came from the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which handed wins to both parties.

The decision finds that Arista is infringing on Cisco's SysDB technology (the '537 patent), and Switchzilla's general counsel Mark Chandler points to ongoing ITC action that could yet bring down another import ban on Arista.

However, Chandler expresses the company's “disappointment” that the USPTO didn't uphold its '577 patent (which alleged infringement against merchant silicon Arista uses).

Arista has welcomed some of the recent movement – in particular, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's (PTAB's) decision to invalidate the '577 patent claims that founded Cisco's infringement claims. The company's update (PDF) also points to the May 10 decision in the US District Court for Northern California that Arista is clear on the charge of copyright infringement in its CLI.

Still to come in this case - other than to-be-expected appeals - is an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision expected June 20 about ongoing ITC action, which will feed into an ITC decision due in September.

There's also a bit of lawyerly rubber-stamping due on July 3, which is expected to confirm the ITC's determination from December 2016. ®

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