Arista cats put one of four tech legal battles with Cisco behind them

Upstart's network kit no longer infringe two Borg patents, still more lawyering to come

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After more than three years under legal assault from Cisco, Arista could soon be breathing easy – now that the United States' International Trade Commission (ITC) has axed its probe into whether the upstart ripped off two Cisco patents.

That's only one of four legal proceedings Cisco has brought against Arista now out on its ear, however, it's arguably the most important case of the group.

On Wednesday this week, the ITC halted its '945 investigation into Arista's alleged infringement of US Patents 6,377,577 and 7,224,668, both Cisco-owned technologies.

The '577 patent described access control list processing, and it expires this week. The '668 patent covered control plane security and flow management. The US Patent Trial and Appeal Board had invalided both patents, paving the way for Arista to successfully ask the ITC to kill off its '945 probe.

The ITC's decision also acknowledges that Arista was able to redesign its products so that they do not trample Cisco's patents.


As the ITC stated, "Cisco has failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that Arista’s redesigned products infringe ... the ’577 patent or that Arista has indirectly infringed [the patent] by contributing to or inducing infringement by its customers."

Arista is not out of the legal woods by any means. Another case it won against Cisco over copyright and patents in the US courts was appealed by Switchzilla, with a judgment on that due soon. And another case was put on hold pending the ITC's '945 investigation, and that could potentially be revived.

However, Arista is clearly feeling optimistic. In a statement to The Register, a spokesperson said:

This decision marks the successful conclusion of the 945 investigation for Arista. We thank the commission for recognizing our redesigns do not infringe the ’577 patent and suspending the proceeding as to the invalidated ’668 patent. We are also looking forward to the conclusion of the '944 investigation following the commission’s review of the favorable initial determination issued by the [administrative law judge] on June 4.

The '944 investigation refers to another ITC probe into whether Arista infringes a different set of Cisco patents. Earlier this month, an administrative law judge at the commission determined Arista's redesigned products do not infringe the remaining Cisco patent under investigation, the '537 patent.

A spokesperson for Cisco was not available for immediate comment. ®


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