Customs gives Cisco adversary Arista green light to resume selling network gear in U.S.

Import ban on Arista gear had begun this summer

Customs gives Cisco adversary Arista green light to resume selling network gear in U.S.

After months of wrangling, Arista today said US Customs has given it permission to resume importing its networking gear in the United States.

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This past summer the US Trade Representative began an import ban as well as a cease and desist order covering Arista products imposed by the International Trade Commission in June where it ruled that Arista had infringed on a number of Cisco’s technology patents.

Arista said in August it was in fact in compliance with the ITC and “as we've previously announced, all of our products now feature our new version of EOS, which contains design-arounds that we believe address the ITC's findings. Our primary focus remains the continued supply of non-infringing products to our customers,” Marc Taxay, senior vice president, general counsel for Arista, said in a statement.

In an SEC Form 8-K filing this week Arista stated those workarounds were effective: On November 18, 2016, Arista Networks, Inc. received a letter from the United States Customs and Border Protection ruling that the Company’s current products which contain its redesigned Extensible Operating System (4.16 or later) are not within the scope of the limited exclusion order issued by the United States International Trade Commission in Investigation No. 337-TA-944 and therefore may be imported into the United States.

“We appreciate the hard work and thoroughness of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in reaching this decision which validates our good-faith efforts to address the ITC’s findings. We look forward to resuming the importation of our redesigned products into the United States,” Taxay said in a statement.

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Cisco however seems unimpressed by the development, issuing the following statement:

“Cisco filed an enforcement complaint with the ITC in August which notes our testing of allegedly redesigned Arista products and why we believe, “the claim of a workaround is a thin veil to cover Arista’s ongoing infringement and convince its customers, many of whom have strongly supported protection of intellectual property rights, that they are buying a product that is non-infringing.” The enforcement case continues with an initial ruling expected in June 2017 and the ITC is not bound by the customs decision.”

Cisco also said it is awaiting  ITC action on another lawsuit it has against Arista – this one known as “’945 Investigation” which involves other patent infringement accusations and is expected in December.

A copyright infringement component of the case goes before a judge in San Jose’s Northern California district court on Nov. 28.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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