All Things Patent Blog


Leave a comment

Arista Wins Copyright and Patent Battle with Cisco

arista-wins-copyright-and-patent-battle-with-cisco

Recently, Arista Networks won a major ruling in the long-running patent and copyright clash with Cisco. A jury in San Jose, California federal court found that Arista owed no damages over Cisco’s claims of patent infringement. Additionally, the jurors also found that Arista did not infringe Cisco’s patent as well.

Initially, in 2014 Cisco sued Arista for infringing its copyright and patent which included Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) 11.0, Cisco IOS 11.1 and Cisco IOS 11.2. Further, Cisco named one patent in the suit, US number 7,047,526, titled “Generic command interface for multiple executable routines”.

Cisco was roughly seeking $335 million for all the statutory damages and a trial by jury.

Cisco said that “rather than invest in the expensive and time-consuming effort that would have been necessary to develop its own features for Arista’s products, and specifically instead of investing the time and expense of developing its own CLI, Arista decided to simply copy Cisco’s unique approach and pioneering proprietary technologies”.

The command line interface (CLI) was the main part of the software in question and Cisco argued that Arista had illegally copied it. However, Arista claimed that the CLI is used by many rival companies and that Cisco’s attack was due to personal enmity.

On December 14th the jury absolved Arista of infringing any of Cisco’s copyrighted technical manuals. They also said that Arista did not induce infringement of two claims of the ‘526 patent. It also said that Arista was protected by “scenes a fair” doctrine, a legal principle in the copyright law that states, if there is no other way to make a product, the value of it cannot be credited to the creator of work. Arista stated, “the outcome represents an important victory not only for Arista but for the entire industry.”

 “Our goal has always been to protect technological innovation, and stop Arista from using our copyrighted and patented technology. We will look to Judge Freeman to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion reached by the jury, as well as other grounds for setting aside the trial result.” said Mark Chandler SVP, General Counsel and Secretary of Cisco.  

Case details

Type Names
Case Number 5:14-cv-05344
Court California Northern District Court
Filed date 12-05-2014
Judge Beth Labson Freeman
Plaintiff Cisco Systems, Inc.
Plaintiff Attorney John M. Desmarais
Plaintiff Law Firm Desmarais LLP
Defendant Arista Networks INC.
Defendant Attorney Ajay Krishnan
Defendant Law Firm Keker & Van Nest LLP
Product Arista 7010 7048 7050 7050X 7100 7150 7200 7250X and others (Networking products)
Patent US7047526|US7953886
Basis of Termination Judgment on the merits
Outcome of District court judgment Defendant

For more details on this case, click here.


Leave a comment

Court Shuts Down Patent Infringement Case Against Amazon.com

court-shuts-down-patent-infringement-case-against-amazon-com

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has dismissed a lawsuit against Amazon.com filed by TriDim Innovations claiming patent infringement.

TriDim filed a suit on Nov 30th 2015 for infringing two patents (U.S. Patent No. 5,838,326 and 5,847,709) on a “computer controlled display system” which it acquired from Xerox Corp. It claims that Amazon.com uses similar software for its Kindle Fire.

The patents describe a three-dimensional computer document workspace that allows users to consolidate a large number of documents by touching, dropping and flicking them into three separate places in accordance to their usage.

Amazon.com argued that the patents were invalid under section 101 as applied in the Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd v. CLS Bank Int’l in 2014. In the Alice case, the Supreme Court expressed that computer claims are eligible for patents if there is significantly more than an abstract idea.

TriDim reasoned that separating its computer display into three spaces limits their invention to a specific system, and hence it is not an abstract idea.

The judge of the case, James Donato found the patent to be invalid under Alice as it was an abstract idea of retrieval and arranging of documents. He ruled it out by saying it did not establish an inventive concept and is a “common solution to a common problem.”

The court said that the TriDim patents did not require any specific hardware or software that would help a user to move and place files within the system. Furthermore, it found that there was an overuse of the word “circuitry” but the invention had nothing to with circuitry. It also said that inclusion of smart words does not mean that the creation is an innovative concept.

Due to all of these assertions, the court gave verdict in favor of Amazon.com and dismissed the lawsuit. The ruling came out on Sept 19, 2016, just days before the patents were about to expire.

According to the USPTO data and MaxVal’s own research, here is a detailed history of this infringement case

Type Names
Case Number 3:15-cv-05477
Court California Northern District Court
Filed date 12/02/2015
Judge James Donato
Plaintiff Tridim Innovations LLC
Plaintiff Attorney Steven Todd Lowe
Plaintiff Law Firm Lowe & Associates, P.C.
Defendant Amazon.Com, Inc.
Defendant Attorney Daniel Thomas Shvodian
Defendant Law Firm Perkins Coie LLP
Product Various versions of the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HDX, and Fire phone – products that incorporate the “carousel” feature
Patent US5838326|US5847709
Closed date 9/19/2016
Basis of Termination Judgment on the Merits
Outcome of District court judgment Favor of Defendant
Comments Patent claims ruled invalid