US regulators on Thursday dealt a blow to Arista Networks in its ongoing legal battle with Cisco when they refused to lift a ban on selling some of Arista's data center networking products in the US.
The US International Trade Commission denied Arista's petition to suspend or temporarily rescind the ban the commission ordered on May 4, when it found that certain Arista products infringed on two Cisco patents. Arista filed the petition last month based on the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board's finding that the Cisco patents were invalid.
The commission said it found that "the PTAB’s final written decisions do not constitute a changed circumstance such that the remedial orders should be rescinded." The infringed patents cover Cisco's private VLAN and SysDB technologies.
"We are deeply disappointed in the ITC's decision to enforce patent claims that the USPTO has clearly found to be invalid. This represents an unfortunate departure from precedent and from the core premise of the AIA and its inter partes review proceedings," Marc Taxay, senior VP and general counsel, said in a statement.
"We will be filing an appeal to the Federal Circuit seeking an immediate stay of the remedial orders. In the event that the ITC's decision is sustained, we will also be releasing modified products to ensure the supply of our products to our customers in full compliance with the ITC's orders," he added.
In a blog post, Mark Chandler, senior VP and general counsel and secretary of Cisco, called the ITC's refusal to lift the import ban a victory for intellectual property rights protection.
"We have had one goal: for Arista to stop selling products using Cisco’s intellectual property. Arista has used every stratagem to delay the case and avoid taking that step," he wrote. "To publicly demonstrate the willful nature of Arista’s actions, we have only asserted in these cases patents which were invented at Cisco by engineers who either went to work for Arista or who at the time of invention or patenting worked at Cisco with individuals who later became Arista executives."
Cisco originally sued Arista in December 2014, claiming it stole intellectual property and copied CLI commands. Arista countersued last year, arguing that Cisco violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.
The legal fight between the fierce networking rivals has taken numerous turns as the patent office and US Customs and Border Protection weighed in.