We’ve promised to provide regular updates about important events related to our litigation to stop Arista’s wrongful copying of Cisco’s copyrighted and patented intellectual property. An action by the Supreme Court of the United States this week has the potential to change the landscape for our US District Court action related to our CLI technology.
In December 2014, we took action against Arista’s verbatim copying of portions of our user manuals and over 500 of our multi-word commands in our command line interface (CLI). At the time, some speculated that the CLI copying might be justified under principles that Google had asserted regarding its copying of the Sun/Oracle code for Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and Arista’s lawyers were relying on that argument in court. At that time, Google was appealing the Federal Circuit’s decision (holding that API software code is copyrightable) with the Supreme Court of the United States.
Some felt that if the Supreme Court took up the Oracle/Google case and reversed Oracle’s Federal Circuit win, it might somehow apply to justify Arista’s brazen copying. It’s worth noting that Arista also offers a CLI that they created themselves (though it’s not used by many of their customers), and the only justification in their public statements prior to the litigation was that their users preferred Cisco’s CLI. With that in mind, we’ve always felt that Arista’s copying of large portions of the Cisco CLI could be distinguished from Google’s argument in that there was no alternative to the API code to create Java-compatible applications.
However, the Supreme Court decision this week, to decline to review Oracle’s win in the Federal Circuit, effectively removed another argument that Arista could make to the Court.
Once again, we call on Arista to stop their blatant copying, respect others’ intellectual property rights, and immediately disable use of the copied Cisco CLI. We are using all available processes to resolve this matter, and will undertake all necessary steps to expedite the District Court’s review of our claims and ask the court to instruct Arista to end use of their products that include the copied CLI.
Note that this decision affects only the copyright claims in the District Court. Our patent claims in the District Court and our International Trade Commission action about Arista’s infringement of twelve Cisco patents continues apace. We are confident in our case and expect positive rulings to be issued by next May.