Jury sides with Arista over Cisco in IP case

Under the "scenes a faire" doctrine, the jury found that Arista does not owe the $335 million in copyright damages that Cisco sought.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

A federal jury on Wednesday sided with Arista Networks in its years-long legal battle with Cisco, Reuters reports, rejecting Cisco's patent infringement claim against its networking competitor.

Cisco in 2014 sued Arista for "slavishly" copying its command line interfaces (CLI), which operate its network switches, and for infringing its patented user interface technology.

The jury also ruled that Arista did not owe the $335 million in copyright damages Cisco sought because Arista was protected by the "scenes a faire" doctrine. That doctrine refers to instances in which there is effectively no other way to express an idea.

While Cisco lost in court Wednesday, the US International Trade Commission has agreed that Arista has infringed five Cisco patents.

In a statement, Cisco said it is reviewing the details of Wednesday's ruling and determining its options for post-trial motions and appeal,"given the clear testimony that other suppliers use very different commands."

Mark Chandler, general counsel and secretary of Cisco, added in a blog post, "Arista copied despite the fact that other competitors have developed user interfaces in a wide variety of ways that do not copy. Cisco's user interface is well-known and successful, and while it has often been referred to as an 'industry standard' - meaning a popular benchmark - none of Cisco's technology in this case has been incorporated in any actual industry standard; in fact, no CLI standards body actually exists."


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