Last month Seagate CEO Bill Watkins warned his firm may go after several solid state disk manufacturers and yesterday he made good on his promise by filing a lawsuit against STEC. Segate claims this SSD maker infringes four of Seagate's patents relating to error correction, storage interfaces with computers and memory-backup systems.
"Unfortunately, others in our industry have taken shortcuts in the race to innovate, and in the process, we believe they are relying on intellectual property developed or acquired by Seagate to their own benefit," remarked Watkins. "Seagate has not been a particularly litigious company, but we have an obligation to our company and our shareholders to protect what belongs to them."
According to Seagate, it talked to rival SSD manufacturers in an effort to make them license its patents. "They have blatantly decided they don't have to," said Watkins to the Wall Street Journal. "Now is the time to start enforcing our patents."
However, STEC said that no such talks took place and it didn't hear about the patent infringement until the lawsuit was brought forth. STEC VP of marketing and business development Patrick Wilkison stated that Seagate simply feels threatened by the steady progress being made by SSD manufacturers.
"It’s not a big financial issue yet because the market is just taking off," Watkins told the New York Times. "But that’s why we want to set things straight now."
"This is not about stifling innovation or threats to our business," Watkins continued in an open letter. "We have an obligation to our company and our shareholders to protect what belongs to them."