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Cisco tears off gloves, throws copyright and patent punches at Arista

Smaller rival faces court battle over intellectual property infringement claims

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Cisco has filed suit against rival Arista Networks, accusing it of ripping off Cisco's intellectual property.

The networking goliath said it will lodge patent and copyright infringement claims against Arista, arguing the upstart has based its business on ideas and technologies copied from Cisco.

The claim includes allegations of infringement on 12 Cisco patents as well as copyright infringement on its code and platforms by Arista for use in its products.

"Arista took an unfair shortcut to compete with Cisco using Cisco’s own technologies, while avoiding the investments in employees, money, and time that would have been needed to develop products based on new technologies," Cisco alleges in the filings.

Arista has emerged as a competitor to Cisco, taking the network hardware giant on in areas such as small data centers and cloud deployments.

"Our success is built on using our innovation engine [seriously? – ed] to lead in the marketplace," wrote Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler.

"Our [legal] action today is based on the principle that to compete in technology, you need to innovate, not copy."

Arista has not said how it plans to challenge the claims, but the biz is remaining defiant in the face of Cisco's claims.

"We just became aware of the lawsuit and have not had an opportunity to evaluate the claims in detail. We will certainly be doing so in the coming days," Arista said in a statement to The Reg.

"While we have respect for Cisco as a fierce competitor and the dominant player in the market, we are disappointed that they have to resort to litigation rather than simply compete with us in products."

Arista CEO and former Cisco exec Jayshree Ullal added: "I am disappointed at Cisco's tactics. It's not the Cisco I knew."

The suits, cases no. 14-5343 and 14-5344 were both filed on December 5 with the Northern California US District Court. ®

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