August 5, 2020

Cisco escalates patent case against Arista

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chandler-mark-Article-201412051708By Scott Graham, From The Recorder

SAN FRANCISCO — Cisco Systems Inc. expanded its intellectual property litigation against competitor . to the U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday, while Arista slammed Cisco’s “armies of lawyers and P.R. agents” and began previewing an interoperability defense.

Cisco sued Arista in San Francisco federal court two weeks ago, alleging that former Cisco employees who now run the cloud networking company have “blatantly incorporated” Cisco technology into their new products. Cisco general counsel wrote in a blog post that “copying was a strategy, not an accident” at Arista, and that the company plagiarized Cisco user manuals and hundreds of command line expressions from Cisco’s operating system.

On Friday, Cisco asked the to block Arista from importing infringing products from China and Malaysia and selling them in the United States. The two complaints cover the same patents and detail many of the same allegations as in district court, minus the sound and fury of those previous filings.

Chandler wrote in a new blog post that Cisco is turning to the ITC because it wants to stop Arista’s infringement quickly. “We have no interest in making this a long, drawn out affair,” he wrote.

Kirkland & Ellis is representing Cisco before the ITC. Kirkland and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan represent Cisco in the district court litigation.

Arista, which last week accused Cisco of running “a smear campaign,” has retained Keker & Van Nest for the district court litigation. A company spokeswoman declined to comment on its counsel for the ITC.

The company fleshed out its legal response Friday in a blog post by Charles Giancarlo, a former chief development officer of Cisco who is now on Arista’s board of directors.

Giancarlo writes that the command line interface on Arista’s EOS operating system is “a very common industry interface for human communication with switching and routing equipment.” Cisco, he writes, “is attempting to asymmetrically protect what has been an industry standard for decades with many vendors deploying it.”

Giancarlo also jabs at Cisco’s reputation as a crusader against so-called patent trolls. “We are now seeing large established companies using their larger patent portfolios to slow down smaller competitors with costly and distracting litigation,” he writes. “Simultaneously, large tech complains about the expense of litigation when defending claims of patent infringement by their smaller rivals.”

In a less direct blog post, Arista CEO Jayshree Ullal sought last week to burnish Arista as a pioneer, while relegating Cisco to older-guard networking companies that “remain strongly entrenched in following legacy technology trends” and that “exhibit patent troll behavior.”

Chandler has sought to emphasize in his blog posts that Cisco rarely initiates patent litigation against competitors. As for command structures, he argues that although simple, single-word commands like “copy,” “paste” or “delete” may be not protectable under copyright, multiword commands such “dot1x max-reauth-req” are not self-evident and therefore can be copyrighted.

IMAGE: Mark Chandler, Cisco System general counsel. Jason Doiy / The Recorder

For more on this story go to: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202713038165/Cisco-Escalates-Patent-Case-Against-Arista#ixzz3Mehz6KAf

chandler-mark-Article-201412051708

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