Today International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), David Shaw released the 294-page public version of his ruling in  the first of two patent infringement cases involving Arista that Cisco had initiated at the ITC. Today’s ruling follows last week’s publication of his proposed remedies.

These important documents lay out the intentional nature of Arista’s infringement of key Cisco patents, many of which go to the heart of the Arista’s product operation. They also confirm that Arista must modify their products so they don’t infringe (which Arista says it is attempting to do), or remove infringing products from the marketplace. The rulings also state clearly that in the Judge’s view, an exclusion order and cease-and-desist order are the appropriate remedies to address Arista’s unlawful conduct. These remedies cover and apply to Arista’s entire line of switches.

Here’s a brief summary of the content of these rulings:

The Remedies ruling, knows as the “Recommended Determination” (RD)
The RD is crystal clear. Judge Shaw recommends that, “the Commission should issue a limited exclusion order covering products and components thereof that infringe the asserted claims.” No exception has been made for the service or support of products already in the United States, or for allowing components to be imported that could be used to build Arista’s infringing products.

The ruling on the claims of infringement, known as the “Initial Determination” (ID)
In Judge Shaw’s thorough analysis, resulting from the review of thousands of pages of supporting evidence and a two-week hearing, the following findings stand out:

For Cisco’s Sysdb patent, which covers portions of Arista’s products that Arista’s CEO described as the company’s “secret sauce”:

• Page 83 – “Arista’s actions indicate that it had specific intent to encourage infringement.”

• Page 85 – Testimony of Arista’s senior leadership “establishes that Arista was willfully blind to Cisco’s patented technology, thereby showing knowledge and specific intent to cause infringement of the asserted patents.”

• Page 86 – “Arista’s witnesses have testified that its customers use Sysdb each and every time they operate the Accused ‘537 Products, and that Arista intends for customers to use the Arista devices this way.”

• Page 87 – “Arista knowingly induces infringement by encouraging, instructing, and enabling third parties to use the Accused Products in a manner that infringes the asserted claims of the ‘537 [Sysdb] patent.”

For Cisco’s Private VLAN patents:
• Page 201 – “Arista knowingly induces infringement by encouraging, instructing, and enabling third parties to use the Accused Products in a manner that infringes the asserted claims of the ’592 and ‘145 patents.”

Next Steps
The ‘944 ruling is now subject to confirmation by the full Commission, after which any exclusion order will proceed to Presidential Review. The challenging ITC review process for any new product designs is already in place. And the recommended exclusion order will take effect after Presidential Review is completed on August 9. As a separate matter, on April 26 Administrative Law Judge McNamara will release her Initial Determination in the second ITC investigation (‘945). That case involves six additional patents not covered in Judge Shaw’s ruling.

Cisco’s goal has always been to protect our innovation, and to stop Arista from copying our patented technology. In light of Judge Shaw’s findings and recommendations released today, we are well on our way to doing just that.


Mark Chandler

Retired | Executive Vice President

Chief Legal and Compliance Officer