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Cisco Systems, Inc. v. International Trade Commission

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

September 27, 2017

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., Appellant
v.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION, Appellee ARISTA NETWORKS, INC. Appellant
v.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION, Appellee

         Appeals from the United States International Trade Commission in Investigation No. 337-TA-944.

          John C. O'Quinn, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, DC, argued for appellant Cisco Systems, Inc. Also represented by Jason M. Wilcox; Dennis J. Abdelnour, Chicago, IL; Adam R. Alper, San Francisco, CA; Steven Cherny, New York, NY; Michael W. De Vries, Los Angeles, CA; Paul M. Bartkowski, Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, LLP, Washington, DC.

          Matthew D. Powers, Tensegrity Law Group, LLP, Redwood City, CA, argued for appellant Arista Networks, Inc. Also represented by William P. Nelson; Michael J. McKeon, Ruffin B. Cordell, Lauren Ann Degnan, Linhong Zhang, Fish & Richardson, PC, Washington, DC; Brian P. Boyd, Atlanta, GA.

          Amanda Pitcher Fisherow, Office of the General Counsel, United States International Trade Commission, Washington, DC, argued for appellee. Also represented by Wayne W. Herrington, Sidney A. Rosenzweig, Dominic L. Bianchi.

          Before Reyna, Schall, and Wallach, Circuit Judges.

          REYNA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         The International Trade Commission entered a limited exclusion order against Arista Networks, Inc. based on its final determination that Arista infringed three of Cisco Systems, Inc.'s patents. The Commission also determined that Arista did not infringe two other Cisco patents. The exclusion order excluded entry into the United States imports of certain network devices, related software, and components thereof. Arista appeals the Commission's infringement determination and the scope of the limited exclusion order. Cisco cross-appeals the Commission's noninfringement determination. Finding no error in the Commission's final determination or exclusion order, we affirm.

         Background

         A. Procedural History

         In January 2015, the Commission instituted a § 337 investigation based on Cisco's complaint alleging that Arista's imports of certain network devices, related software, and components thereof infringed six of its pa-tents.[1] J.A. 501-02; 19 U.S.C. § 1337 (2012). In February 2016, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a final initial determination finding a § 337 violation with respect to three patents: the '537 patent, '592 patent, and '145 patent. The ALJ's final initial determination found no § 337 violation based on the '597 patent and '164 patent. The '296 patent had previously been terminated from the investigation. Cisco and Arista filed petitions for review before the Commission.

         The Commission agreed to review the ALJ's final initial determination. In June 2016, the Commission issued its final determination. The Commission determined that Arista infringed the asserted claims of the '537 patent, '592 patent, and '145 patent, and did not infringe the asserted claims of the '597 patent and '164 patent. J.A. 502. Based on this finding, the Commission entered a limited exclusion order against imports by Arista of "certain network devices, related software and components thereof." J.A. 502-03.

         Arista appeals the Commission's claim construction of a term in the '537 patent and the scope of the limited exclusion order. Cisco cross-appeals the Commission's noninfringement finding with respect to the '597 patent.

         B. Technology

         1. '537 Patent

         The '537 patent relates to a system and method of managing data in network devices. J.A. 903 at Abstract. Network devices, like routers or switches, have an operating system that controls the system's functions. Network devices use different specialized subsystems to perform the functions related to routing network traffic. In some prior art network devices, different subsystems carried out each network function, which required multiple dependencies between the subsystems. J.A. 912 at col. 1 ll. 37-40. These multiple dependencies made common transactions cumbersome and unnecessarily complicated, increasing the time required to design and develop various subsystems. J.A. 912 at col. 1 l. 65-col. 2 l. 3.

         The '537 patent discloses a way to solve this multiple-dependency problem. The '537 patent employs a centralized database that allows each subsystem to be modular (i.e., capable of being easily added or removed from the network) and to operate independently to carry out its specialized functions. J.A. 913 at col. 3 ll. 13-38, col. 4 ll. 11-19. The centralized database is referred to as SysDB.

         Cisco asserted claims 1, 2, 8-11, and 17-19 of the '537 patent. Claim 19 is representative of the claims and recites:

19. In a router device having a processor and memory, a router operating system executing within said memory comprising:
(a) a database subsystem;
(b) a plurality of client subsystems, each operatively coupled for communication to said database subsystem, one of said client subsystems configured as a managing subsystem to externally manage router data upon issuing a management request to said database subsystem; and
(c) a database operatively coupled to said database subsystem, said database configured to store router configuration data and delegate management of router configuration data to a management subsystem that requests to manage router configuration data, said router configuration data managed by said database system and derived from configuration commands supplied by a user and executed by a router configuration subsystem before being stored in said database.

J.A. 920 at col. 18 ll. 21-39.

         2. '597 Patent

         The '597 patent generally relates to the field of information networks, and a method and apparatus for securing a communications device using a logging module. The patent explains that prior attempts to develop flexible and secure logging modules were vulnerable to security attacks. An attacker could, for example, disable a security device by changing its configuration and then proceed to attack the now-defenseless network device. J.A. 14342 at col. 2 ll. 16-19.

         The '597 patent describes a logging module that detects and communicates information regarding a change to a configuration of a subsystem. J.A. 14342 at col. 2 ll. 34-38. The logging module thereby can provide an indication whenever an attacker attempts to circumvent the security of the subsystem. J.A. 14342 at col. 2 ll. 40-42.

         Cisco asserted claims 1, 14, 15, 29, 39, 63, 64, and 71- 73 of the '597 patent. Claim 1 is ...


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