Seagate Drops SSD Patent Lawsuit Against STEC

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-02-20 Print this article Print

UPDATED: Following discovery and evaluation of STEC's intellectual property and technology, data storage company Seagate Technology drops all claims associated with STEC's purported patent infringement.

Solid-state drive maker STEC on Feb. 19 announced the mutual dismissal of a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Seagate Technology in April 2008.

The lawsuit was initiated by Seagate's allegations that STEC misappropriated Seagate's intellectual property. Following discovery and evaluation of STEC's intellectual property and technology, Seagate has dropped all claims associated with STEC's purported patent infringement.

As a result of the lawsuit's dismissal no money was exchanged, and neither party licensed its technology to the other, STEC said.

"This is an important development in light of the mass adoption of SSDs," said Manouch Moshayedi, chairman and CEO of STEC.

"With Seagate having dropped its case against us, we believe the uniqueness of SSD design relative to traditional HDD technologies has been established. We have always contended that SSD does not borrow from existing hard-drive technology but rather offers an altogether new approach to storage."

Seagate's legal action contended that STEC had profited by infringing upon several key intellectual property patents. Bill Watkins, Seagate's CEO at the time, wrote on his company Web site during the legal action that Seagate had invested $7 billion over the last 10 years in R&D and had more than 3,900 U.S. patents in its portfolio, and that STEC had been profiting from that research.
STEC, which claims to be one of the first companies to build SSDs, began designing, manufacturing and shipping SSDs as early as 1994, long before any of the four patents in question were issued to Seagate, Moshayedi said.

Seagate spokesperson Rachel Adams forwarded a response to eWEEK.

"Seagate dismissed its patent infringement case against STEC and STEC dismissed its counterclaims against the company and Mr. Watkins," Adams wrote in an e-mail. "The economic conditions today are drastically altered from those that existed when we filed the litigation and the impact of STEC's sales of SSD's has turned out to be so small that the expenditures necessary to vindicate the patents could be better spent elsewhere."

Editor's note:
This story was updated to include a response from Seagate.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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