Arista's top lawyer used the company's earnings call for trash-talk Thursday, saying Cisco is "behaving very much like a patent troll" in its intellectual property lawsuit against Arista.
Arista Networks Inc. CEO Jayshree Ullal kicked off the badmouthing: "Despite all the overheated rhetoric we've been hearing from Cisco blogs about Arista's brazen copying, we think the only thing brazen about the suit is the extreme length Cisco has gone to," she said. "Our customers have shown unwavering support."
Arista Vice President and General Counsel Marc Taxay agreed. "Ironically ... it appears to us at any rate that Cisco is behaving very much like a patent troll, which is pretty much what they've spent the last decade condemning." Cisco is claiming patents for widely implemented features and functionality that exist on a broad range of switches today, and some of the patents affect features the patents were never intended to cover, Taxay said.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) sued Arista in December, charging patent and copyright infringements from "repeated and pervasive copying of key inventions in Cisco products," including Cisco's implementation of the Command Line Interface. The two companies have been churning out blog posts and hurling insults at each other ever since. (See Cisco Slams Arista With Massive Patent & Copyright Suit.)
A judge dismissed parts of the litigation last month, but is letting the rest of the case move forward. (See Cisco Hits Setback in Arista Suit.)
Asked for comment after the call, a Cisco spokesman noted that the companies are one month away from the start of the first International Trade Commission trial. "All of our claims remain valid, and we look forward to presenting them to the Commission," the spokesperson said.
He added: "Arista is clearly confused. We are talking about 12 cutting-edge technologies developed at Cisco, patented by Cisco, built into our products, and being used today by our customers to meet their most pressing networking challenges. Our goal is simply to stop Arista from using intellectual property designed and owned by Cisco. We have every right to protect our investments and innovations from brazen copying.”
It could be a long trial. Taxay laid out a calendar of events that sees the final decision stretching out to October 2016.