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Protecting Innovation: International Trade Commission Commences Investigation

A short while ago, the International Trade Commission (ITC) took an important first step toward the speedy review and action we requested regarding Arista’s widespread infringement of Cisco’s patented networking technology. We welcome the ITC’s initial action in this case, and by voting to commence an investigation into our complaints regarding Arista’s use of Cisco’s patented technology in its products, the ITC has started down a road that should lead to resolution within a matter of months. Trials are generally completed within 9 to 12 months after an investigation is instituted. We are committed to driving fast action regarding Arista’s illicit copying. Our complaints to the ITC detail Arista’s inclusion in its products of a wide array of important Cisco features covered by 12 different U.S. patents. All of these patented technologies are core technologies being used in products we currently ship to our customers. And none of these Cisco proprietary implementations are part of industry standards. You can read our complaints here and here.

We look forward to the opening of the discovery process so that we can further document the widespread infringement, which Arista itself has advertised as a key selling point of their products (see my blog when we brought our lawsuits on December 5).

As the ITC’s decision to commence investigations was just confirmed, we will evaluate the documents that we expect to receive, and provide updates in the coming days.

Further Update: 22 January 2015

Interestingly, the ITC apparently did not elect to undertake further investigation into Arista’s request that the trial judge consider whether their products are so vital to the national interest that they should be allowed to continue to be sold, even if they infringe (See Arista’s Public Interest Statement). We were surprised that Arista even asked. We had expected them to simply deny infringement. Instead, they claimed, “Many others have used, and continue to use, technologies Cisco accuses Arista of using without any complaint from Cisco” as a justification for infringement, and claiming that “Arista’s products serve critical roles in U.S. commerce and security [and] [t]he issuance of any exclusion order would raise public health, safety, or welfare concerns.” As laid out in detail in the December 5 blog, Arista is unique in the scope of its copying of Cisco technology. That’s why this is the first patent lawsuit we’ve initiated in eleven years. Arista has many competitors who do not copy the Cisco technologies Arista chose to incorporate in their products.

Arista has it backwards. There is a strong public interest, long recognized by the ITC, in protecting innovation and excluding the importation and sale of infringing products. That’s why the ITC exists. So we are pleased it looks like the trials will focus on the merits of our claims, without spending resources on Arista’s argument that the public has an interest in letting it infringe Cisco’s patents.

 

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In Retail, Insight Is Currency, and Context Is King

Today’s retailers face a rising tide of change, disruption, and challenges, all driven by technology. As their business landscape is upended, many are struggling to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, competition from disruptive innovators, and exponentially increasing complexity.

The source of much of this disruption is the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things, and Cisco projects these connections to surge from 13 billion today to 50 billion in the next decade. For retailers, that means a sharp increase in the potential channels, devices, and shopping journeys that are available to consumers. Increasingly, retailers must meet new demands for relevant, efficient, and convenient shopping experiences, whether in-store or out.

IoE_Retail_Figure_Journey_3-2

But for traditional retailers, IoE also presents tremendous opportunities. At the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” in New York this week, I have seen a great openness to change and innovation. As I see it, traditional retailers are ready to step into the IoE era, but they will need the right ecosystem of partners to guide them through the transformation and help them make the right investments.

To better understand these opportunities and the changing competitive dynamics in retail, Cisco recently undertook a comprehensive, three-pronged study consisting of original research, economic analysis, and interviews with retail industry thought leaders. Released this week, the first wave of primary research findings includes 1240 consumer responses from the United States and the United Kingdom.

A key theme that emerged from the research was that today’s consumers demand new kinds of digital experiences, both in-store and out. In our survey, we presented respondents with 19 concept tests — everything from digital signage and same-day delivery to mobile payments and augmented reality. Above all, we found that shoppers seek a hyper-relevant experience — more so than a hyper-personalized one. In short, efficiency and savings are more important to them than personal engagement.

In our survey, 38 percent of respondents identified greater efficiency in the shopping process (e.g., ensuring items are in stock, speeding checkout times) as the area retailers most need to improve. By contrast, 13 percent sought improvements that would lead to a more personalized shopping experience. Read More »

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How Trinity Leeds is changing the future of retail with IoE

Shopping centres have been around for thousands of years, supposedly starting in Ancient Rome. The basic concept of a shopping centre has not changed much since then; a large building, or multiple buildings connected, which contain a variety of retail stores, services and restaurants. However, we at Land Securities, a commercial property group based in the UK, are changing the way customers experience shopping with our newest shopping centre, Trinity Leeds, “the mall of the future.” Read More »

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What’s In Store for Satellite Video Purveyors at CES?

Amid the technological sizzle at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show is a special line of equipment and services, developed entirely for satellite video providers. And, as you might expect, it’s a solution set being heavily fortified by the cloud.

That’s why a strong undercurrent this week in Las Vegas (and in our suite, at the Wynn), are the innovations that can infuse satellite video providers with agility. Innovations in content, user experience, and services, specifically.

In our suite, at the Wynn, we’ll have on hand everything Read More »

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A Grammy-Class Outcome to the Rockstar Patents

Today’s definitive agreement for purchase of the Rockstar patents by a subsidiary of patent clearinghouse RPX Corporation, with simultaneous licensing of the portfolio to more than 30 technology companies, including Cisco, represents a victory for common sense. It also puts to rest a wayward and misguided business model that threatened to add costs to industry and consumers with no benefits to innovation or economic development.  This step should also send a strong message to companies who toy with the idea of “monetizing” their patent portfolios through transactions with private equity and non-practicing-entities, or by shaking down other industry participants: They will find themselves isolated. In short, they will end up as net losers if they initiate a game based on short-sighted greed.

We’re taking a different approach. Working with RPX, we devised a licensing model where even those who chose not to join with more than thirty of their peers in this purchase will still have the chance to license on comparable and fair terms.  Kent Walker, the general counsel of Google, was instrumental in pulling this together. Brad Smith and Bruce Sewell, the general counsels of Microsoft and Apple, deserve huge credit for working with the other Rockstar members – Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony – to reach a consensus that produced this positive result.

The origins of “Rockstar” are found in the smartphone patent wars that began several years ago. While we have no quarrel with companies using their patents to stop the copying of differentiating features without permission (and in fact commented favorably on the direct Apple-Samsung litigation), the driving up of patent valuations as each side in the war sought to bulk up for battle ended up serving no one other than lawyers and middlemen. Rockstar’s litigation strategy turned out to be inconclusive, keeping many lawyers very busy but with little money changing hands to date.

Read More »

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