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Cisco Software and Licenses are Pirated by Same Company Under Different Names

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On November 14 plaintiff Cisco Systems, Inc. filed a complaint against defendants Shoc Networks, LLC (Cisco Systems, Inc and Cisco Technology Inc. v. Shoc Networks, LLC, formerly known as Daldan Technologies, LLC and DT Networks; Ronald Reed and DOES 1 through 10  3:19-cv-07516) for damages and injunctive relief for federal trademark infringement and counterfeiting, federal unfair competition, federal direct and indirect copyright infringement, as well as trafficking in counterfeit and/or illicit labels and documentation. Cisco is represented by Sideman & Bancroft LLP.

The complaint alleged that Shoc Networks was caught reselling stolen and/or pirated Cisco software licenses to other resellers and end customers, who were tricked into buying the cut-rate pirated software. The complaint stated that when Shoc Networks distributed the unlicensed Cisco software, they created a counterfeit mockup of a Cisco software license claim certificate to make the software licenses look genuine and authorized by Cisco. These actions have financially hurt and undermined Cisco.

Cisco, a telecommunications technology, hardware and software company, has a variety of registered trademarks, which are listed in the complaint. The complaint stated “[i]n September of 2016, an Amazon storefront, operated by seller ‘dtnetworks’ was advertising and selling what it claimed to be a Cisco-branded software licenses, including a listing for ‘Cisco OnDemand Port Activation License’ Cisco’s software, however, is licensed by Cisco to a specific end user, where that license is not generally transferable and cannot be resold…As such, any such software license distribution by this reseller was, and is, infringing.” Cisco sent a cease and desist letter to DT Networks on September 8, 2016; on October 18, 2016 DT Networks responded essentially stating it would be permanently shut down. At the time, Cisco reasonably assumed the infringing products would cease.

Cisco assumed wrong. DT Networks’ principal, Reed, began the unlawful sale and distribution of Cisco software with another company of his, Shoc Networks; Cisco discovered this in 2018. However, the week before Cisco was informed of DT Networks’ shutdown, Reed transferred the infringing software to his new company, Shoc Networks, therefore Shoc Networks is a continuation of DT Networks’ business. This was problematic because Cisco only allowed its software to be licensed through authorized channels. Thus, DT Networks and Shoc Networks were unlawfully selling and distributing pirated Cisco-branded software with counterfeit software license claim certificates.

Cisco has sought relief for damages.

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