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Both HPs, Vizio join Arista's legal fight against Cisco

Supporters say switch upstart's US trade bans should be lifted, sooner rather than later

Upstart Arista has managed to gather some friends in its ongoing battle with Cisco: both HPs, Vizio, two automotive groups and others have filed an amicus brief with the Federal Circuit arguing that the International Trade Commission's (ITC's) ban on some Arista kit be permanently set aside.

For most of its short life, Arista (founded by ex-Cisco personnel) has been fighting off accusations that it copied Cisco intellectual property. Among other things, that forced the start-up to redesign some of its switches).

The case ended up in front of the Federal Circuit because in spite of a June Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision in Arista's favour, the International Trade Commission (ITC) left in place restrictions on its products pending a full review.

Arista is asking the Federal Circuit “seeking an immediate stay of the remedial orders”, and that's the action that HP, Vizio and the rest have decided to support.

Filed late last week, the amicus brief argues its position that “free and fair competition” is in the public interest, and that the ITC is not fully recognising that public interest.

That is: since the Cisco patents have been invalidated, Arista should be free to trade its products in the US.

The brief was filed by Unified Patents, an organisation that bills itself as "The Anti-Troll", and is available in full here.

HP and Vizio, protest their independence from the case, but both must at least be aware of Cisco's market power. HPE has had Cisco as a competitor for decades; Vizio is best known in home entertainment, but that business is increasingly dependent on content delivered over an Internet dominated by Cisco's routers.

The auto industry, meanwhile, is in the forefront of the Internet of Things – yet another segment Switchzilla hopes to dominate. ®


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