Networking firm Arista has lashed out at rival Cisco after it was served with legal proceedings by the tech giant last week.
In a blog, Cisco's general counsel Mark Chandler charged Arista with "repeated and pervasive copying of key inventions in Cisco products" and said legal action was deemed necessary after serious consideration.
The networking vendor launched in 2008 and its senior management team is made up mainly of former Cisco staff, including its chief executive Jayshree Ullal who used to be a senior vice president at the giant.
Cisco has accused Arista of using features in its kit to which it knows Cisco has the IP rights, and intentionally marketing those features to customers. It also claims the firm talked up the allegedly copied tech to investors and said if the firm is not stopped then others might follow.
But Arista has come out fighting and claimed the firm's legal endeavours prove it is lacking in the innovation department.
"Arista is winning the software battle in the cloud, so Cisco has chosen to do what others did to it previously and is attempting to use the legal system to cover for its lack of innovation in software," said Dan Scheinman, who is on the company's board of directors, in a blog.
"I was the general counsel at Cisco in the 1990s when it was being attacked in much the same way as Arista is today. Cisco faced this same challenge from the legacy vendors in the 1990s, and the legacy vendors also wrongly used litigation to slow down innovation.
"I agreed with Mr Chambers' quote then and I agree with it even more now. ‘Symbolically it's huge,' Mr Chambers said of the suit [in a 1998 New York Times article]. ‘It shows that some companies don't have a way to compete in this new market.'
"Suing the new competition did not work in 1998 and it will work no better in 2014. What makes me most sad is that the millions of dollars that will be spent on this litigation could instead be spent innovating, helping customers or, heck, donating to food banks. The litigation is not going to help innovation, customers or the larger world."
Arista's Ullal published a similar post, entitled "Pioneers vs Protectors in Cloud Networking Innovation", in which she claims Cisco is part of a second wave of tech innovators, behind a third wave which includes Arista.
"Dominant companies often fall by the wayside when they do not anticipate and react to clear market trends as technology evolves, and they consequently fail to invest in and develop next-generation technology," she said, in what is perhaps a thinly veiled attack on Cisco.
"They focus on maximising earnings rather than growth and innovation. In the absence of innovation and the associated competitive products, these same companies often resort to tactics that do not benefit customers or expand markets as a means of defending their market position."
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