Seagate Technologies, the world’s largest manufacturer of hard disk drives, on Monday filed a lawsuit against STEC Inc. (formerly Simple Tech), a company that designs and manufacturers flash-based as well as dynamic random access memory-based products. Seagate claims that STEC infringes the hard drive maker’s patents and demands that STEC would stop selling solid state drive and pay unspecified damages to Seagate.
Earlier this year Seagate’s chief executive William Watkins already said that Seagate Technologies and Western Digital owned numerous patents that cover solid state drives (SSDs), which store data on flash memory and not on magnetic media, like hard disk drives (HDDs). In the suit, Seagate contends that STEC’s solid-state drive products violate four Seagate patents covering how such drives interface with computers, reports New York Times news-paper. The suit was filed in
At present SSDs are hardly really popular due to very high cost amid lower storage capacity compared to HDDs. Nevertheless, as the price of solid state drives is getting more affordable, more customers are projected to switch to SSDs due to performance and reliability reasons, which is something that Seagate does not want to happen.
“It’s not a big financial issue yet because the market is just taking off. But that’s why we want to set things straight now,” said William D. Watkins, chief executive of Seagate.
Mr. Watkins claimed that Seagate had invested $7 billion over the last year in research and development of the technology at issue in its lawsuit. The main know-how at the core of the complaint is how solid-state drives interact with computers, for purposes like error correction.
Patrick Wilkison, vice president of marketing and business development at STEC, is reported to have said that Seagate “was clearly feeling threatened by the growing demand for solid-state drives and that it was defending its turf”. Moreover, Mr. Wilkinson indicated that Seagate did not contact STEC about infringement before filing the lawsuit.