HP, EMC to settle storage dispute out of court

HP, EMC to settle storage dispute out of court

HP and EMC have elected to settle a longstanding patent dispute out of court, ending a lawsuit that HP inherited with its July 2001 acquisition of storage management company StorageApps.

According to court documents filed on January 24 with the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the case will now be decided in private, binding arbitration.

A jury had already found HP guilty in the case, but the court had yet to rule on what damages were to be awarded. With the two companies now agreeing to arbitration, the case was effectively over, an EMC spokesperson said.

EMC initially sued StorageApps in October 2000 claiming it had infringed three software patents relating to the creation of identical copies, or mirrors, of system files.

Two of the patents covered a remote mirroring technique used in EMC's Symmetrix Remote Data Facility, EMC said. The other covered a mirroring technique used in the company's TimeFinder software.

An October 4, 2004, court injunction prohibited HP from selling technology that uses the patents, including versions of HP's StorageApps SV3000 and Continuous Access Storage Appliance (CASA) devices.

The binding arbitration would determine what damages are to be awarded EMC, but not necessarily cover whether or not HP would be able to resume selling the products in question, the EMC spokesperson said.

"The injunction is permanent," she said. "At this point this damages phase is purely financial."

HP declined to comment on this story.

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