Cisco, Arista Trade Barbs After US Product Import Ban Upheld


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The contentious legal battle between networking rivals Cisco and Arista Networks continues to rage on as the International Trade Commission (ITC) Thursday upheld its decision to ban the importation and sale of some of Arista's networking products into the United States.

Shares of Arista stock traded down more than 3 percent at $151.81 Friday afternoon after the ITC denied the vendor's request to lift the ban.

Cisco Senior Vice President, General Counsel Mark Chandler said the ITC send "a strong message to Arista that its corporate culture of copying" must stop.

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"We have had one goal: for Arista to stop selling products using Cisco’s intellectual property," said Chandler, in a blog post on Friday. "Arista has used every stratagem to delay the case and avoid taking that step … We hope Arista’s board will now stand up and demand that the company cease use of all misappropriated technology."

Arista had sought via an emergency petition to overturn the ITC's May 4 ruling that banned the import of Arista switches found to infringe on Cisco patents. The emergency petition came after a ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found the relevant Cisco's patents to be invalid. 

In its ruling Thursday, the ITC said it denied Arista's petition because the USPTO appeal process has not yet been exhausted and is therefore not final. 

"Despite Cisco's overheated rhetoric and promises to shut Arista down, we are still standing tall thanks to the wide-ranging support we have received from the larger community that sees this assault for what it is," said Arista in a statement to investors on Thursday.

The dispute dates back to December, 2014, when Cisco filed several lawsuits against Arista alleging the vendor infringed on multiple Cisco patents. 

Arista is deeply disappointed" in the ITC's decision to enforce "patent claims that the USPTO has clearly found to be invalid," said Arista Senior Vice President and General Counsel Marc Taxay in an email to CRN.

Arista has already been creating new versions of products, such as its flagship EOS software, that have patent infringement workarounds.

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