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.