Arista Networks Just Scored a Major Legal Victory Over Cisco Systems

Cisco Announces Quarterly Earnings
SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 10: A bicyclist rides by a sign that is posted in front of the Cisco Systems headquarters on August 10, 2011 in San Jose, California. Cisco Systems reported better-than-expected fourth quarter revenues with a 3.3 percent rise to $11.2 billion as the company continues to scale down its business. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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A U.S. jury on Wednesday handed Arista Networks a major win in a wide-ranging legal battle against Cisco Systems, ruling that Arista owed no damages over Cisco’s claims of copyright infringement.

The jury in a San Jose, Calif. federal court also found that Arista did not infringe a Cisco patent, a Cisco spokesperson said.

The verdict is the latest in sprawling litigation between Cisco, a major networking equipment company, and Arista, a fast-growing rival. The companies compete fiercely to sell ethernet switches to connect computers, servers and other devices, forming networks.

Cisco had been seeking roughly $335 million in damages over Arista copyright infringement over its user interfaces. Cisco’s representative did not have immediate additional comment about the verdict, and an Arista spokeswoman could not be reached.

Cisco is fighting to preserve its position as a dominant market player and looking to brush off its rival founded by former top Cisco executives and engineers.

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During a two-week trial in a San Jose, Cisco argued that Arista “slavishly copied” its command line interfaces (CLI)—one- or two-word commands for operating its network switches—and that Arista’s switches and routers infringe one of its patents for user interface technology.

Arista denied infringing Cisco’s (CSCO) intellectual property.

In late-afternoon trading in New York, Arista shares were up about 2.1% while Cisco shares were flat.

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