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Cisco Systems sues rival for infringement of network patents

A visitor walks past a Cisco advertising panel as she looks at her mobile phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Albert Gea/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc filed two lawsuits on Friday against Arista Networks Inc, accusing the smaller rival of copying its networking technologies.

The lawsuits, filed in a federal court in California, accuse Arista of infringing on 14 patents on networks and also on related copyrights, Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler said in a blog post.

Shares of Arista were down 6.9 percent at $68.48 in afternoon trading, while Cisco fell 0.9 percent to $27.51.

Arista was formed by former Cisco employees, including Chief Development Officer Andreas Bechtolsheim, Chief Technology Officer Kenneth Duda, and Chief Executive Officer Jayshree Ullal.

"Rather than building its products and services based on new technologies developed by Arista, however, and providing legitimate competition to Cisco, Arista took a shortcut by blatantly and extensively copying the innovative networking technologies designed and developed by Cisco," one of the complaints said.

Cisco is a leader in the networking world, with revenue of $12.2 billion in the third quarter. Arista, in contrast, reported sales of $155.5 million for the period, although it is growing fast.

Arista said it had not yet been able to evaluate the lawsuits.

"While we have respect for Cisco as a fierce competitor and the dominant player in the market, we are disappointed that they have to resort to litigation rather than simply compete with us in products," Arista said in an emailed statement.

Cisco filed the lawsuits on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a $64 million patent infringement verdict that Commil USA LLC won against the company.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Von Ahn)