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Protecting Innovation: Cisco seeks only fair competition

- January 25, 2016 - 0 Comments

Arista’s filing of bogus antitrust claims today is not accidental or a coincidence.

The claims, most of which were included in earlier Arista filings, are a smokescreen to divert attention from the important ruling expected from the International Trade Commission (ITC) on February 2*. This is when Judge Shaw will rule on the validity of five Cisco patents and whether Arista infringed any of those patents. We chose the ITC as a forum because of its defined and accelerated timetable. If infringement is found, Arista, despite their efforts to delay the ITC process, may be just a few months from an exclusion order banning a majority (or all) of their products entering the United States.

The antitrust claims may also be a pretext to muddy a District Court trial scheduled for November, just as Arista used procedural tactics in a failed effort to delay the ITC actions. Arista missed the deadline for amending their claims in the CLI case to which they are seeking to add these new claims, after they got only a portion of the long delay they earlier sought from Judge Freeman.

Let me be clear. We welcome the opportunity to show that Cisco’s business practices are consistent with a highly competitive and vibrant industry. We seek only fair competition, but will take action against those who misappropriate our technology and use it to compete against us.

By contrast, the extent of Arista’s copying of our CLI sets them apart from others in the industry. They have directly lifted more than 500 multi-word command line expressions. By comparison, networking products from HP, Brocade, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks and Extreme each have only a small fraction of overlapping commands. It is no surprise then, that when Arista’s Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Software Engineering was asked about the CLI, he references his company’s “slavish” copying.

Our goal has always been to protect Cisco’s innovation, and stop Arista from using our patented and copyrighted technology. Arista’s behavior has negative consequences for the industry, and for their customers and partners who were sold products using stolen technology. They can no longer delay the inevitable.

* Updated 27 January 2016: The due date for Initial Determination in ITC Case 944 has been extended to 2 February 2016. This change is in response to the Federal Government closures that took place this week due to inclement weather in Washington DC.
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