Recently, Arista Networks won a major ruling in the long-running patent and copyright clash with Cisco. A jury in San Jose, California federal court found that Arista owed no damages over Cisco’s claims of patent infringement. Additionally, the jurors also found that Arista did not infringe Cisco’s patent as well.
Initially, in 2014 Cisco sued Arista for infringing its copyright and patent which included Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) 11.0, Cisco IOS 11.1 and Cisco IOS 11.2. Further, Cisco named one patent in the suit, US number 7,047,526, titled “Generic command interface for multiple executable routines”.
Cisco was roughly seeking $335 million for all the statutory damages and a trial by jury.
Cisco said that “rather than invest in the expensive and time-consuming effort that would have been necessary to develop its own features for Arista’s products, and specifically instead of investing the time and expense of developing its own CLI, Arista decided to simply copy Cisco’s unique approach and pioneering proprietary technologies”.
The command line interface (CLI) was the main part of the software in question and Cisco argued that Arista had illegally copied it. However, Arista claimed that the CLI is used by many rival companies and that Cisco’s attack was due to personal enmity.
On December 14th the jury absolved Arista of infringing any of Cisco’s copyrighted technical manuals. They also said that Arista did not induce infringement of two claims of the ‘526 patent. It also said that Arista was protected by “scenes a fair” doctrine, a legal principle in the copyright law that states, if there is no other way to make a product, the value of it cannot be credited to the creator of work. Arista stated, “the outcome represents an important victory not only for Arista but for the entire industry.”
“Our goal has always been to protect technological innovation, and stop Arista from using our copyrighted and patented technology. We will look to Judge Freeman to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion reached by the jury, as well as other grounds for setting aside the trial result.” said Mark Chandler SVP, General Counsel and Secretary of Cisco.
|Court||California Northern District Court|
|Judge||Beth Labson Freeman|
|Plaintiff||Cisco Systems, Inc.|
|Plaintiff Attorney||John M. Desmarais|
|Plaintiff Law Firm||Desmarais LLP|
|Defendant||Arista Networks INC.|
|Defendant Attorney||Ajay Krishnan|
|Defendant Law Firm||Keker & Van Nest LLP|
|Product||Arista 7010 7048 7050 7050X 7100 7150 7200 7250X and others (Networking products)|
|Basis of Termination||Judgment on the merits|
|Outcome of District court judgment||Defendant|
For more details on this case, click here.