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The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has sided with computer networking company Arista in its long-running patent dispute with technology multinational Cisco.

On Saturday, April 8, Arista released a legal update about the row.

Arista said it had sought a ruling from the CBP that the company’s redesigned products no longer infringed Cisco’s patents, US numbers 7,200,145, 6,741,592 and 7,162,537.

This would allow Arista to import these networking products into the US.

Arista added that the CBP process is “widely” used and that in the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) final determination in the companies’ dispute, the ITC reaffirmed that it was “proper” for Arista to obtain import clearance for its resigned products.

In August last year, the Presidential review period for that ITC dispute ended. The ITC had earlier said that Arista infringed the three patents owned by Cisco.

Cisco later filed an enforcement action against Arista at the ITC, where it asserted that the company had violated the limited exclusion order and cease-and desist order.

These enforcement proceedings are underway. According to Arista, this investigation only involves the ‘537 patent because Cisco no longer alleges that Arista infringes the '145 or '592 patents.

The ITC had issued a cease-and-desist order that prohibited Arista from importing its products into the US that infringed the patents.

In order to comply with the ITC’s order, Arista redesigned its infringing products.

Arista also sought a ruling from the CBP, which then approved Arista’s redesigned products in November last year.

Cisco filed a formal request for revocation.

The CBP decided to conduct an inter partes proceeding to reconsider Arista’s redesigns.

In January this year, the CBP revoked its earlier ruling in favour of Arista while the inter partes proceeding was being conducted.

On Friday, April 7, the CBP ruled that Arista’s redesigned products do not infringe the ‘592, ‘145 or ‘537 patents.

“Arista appreciates the hard work and dedication of CBP in conducting this fair process and in reaffirming the initial ruling,” the release said.

Mark Chandler, SVP, general counsel and secretary at Cisco, wrote a blog post on April 4 that was updated on April 7. In it, he said: “We have always sought a detailed and open process, and appreciate that CBP has afforded us this opportunity for increased transparency.”


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