DATA CENTERS

  • 11/21/2016
    2:51 PM
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Arista Wins US Import Approval In Cisco Patent Fight

Customs agency rules that Arista's redesigned EOS doesn't violate Cisco patents.

The ongoing legal battle between Cisco and Arista Networks took another twist Monday after Arista said it received a letter from the US Customs and Border Protection allowing sale of its redesigned products in the US.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arista said the CPB letter ruled that  products with its redesigned Extensible Operating System (EOS) don't fall within the scope of the limited exclusion order issued by the US International Trade Commission in June and may be imported into the US.

"CBP has issued instructions to the U.S. ports to permit entry of the Company’s redesigned products for consumption and sale in the United States," Arista said in its SEC filing.

The ITC ruled in June that Arista violated three Cisco patents and ordered an import ban on Arista switches and other devices that infringed on those patents. Cisco originally sued Arista in December 2014, claiming it stole intellectual property and copied CLI commands. Earlier this year, Arista countersued, arguing that Cisco violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Arista said it redesigned its EOS to address the ITC's findings. The infringed patents covered Cisco's private VLAN and SysDB technologies.

 “We appreciate the hard work and thoroughness of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in reaching this decision which validates our good-faith efforts to address the ITC’s findings. We look forward to resuming the importation of our redesigned products into the United States," Marc Taxay, Arista senior VP and general counsel, said in a statement.

Cisco could not be immediately reached for comment.

Networking expert Tom Hollingsworth said after the US customs ruling he expects Arista will push ahead with its lawsuit and argue that the SysDB patent is too broad.


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Cisco response

Cisco issued this statement after our story was published:

“Cisco filed an enforcement complaint with the ITC in August which notes our testing of allegedly redesigned products and why we believe, the claim of a workaround is a thin veil to cover Arista’s ongoing infringement and convince its customers, many of whom have strongly supported protection of intellectual property rights, that they are buying a product that is non-infringing. The enforcement case continues with an initial ruling expected in June 2017 and the ITC is not bound by the customs decision. We are also awaiting the ITC action in the '945 Investigation' involving additional patents we believe Arista infringes, and which has been awaiting decision for approximately a year.”