Dell has been ordered by a US federal court to hand over the email records of 14 execs, after it was accused of failing to co-operate in a patent infringement case.
The flea on Dell's back is Dutch-owned Tulip Computers, once a multinational PC player - tiny subsidiaries in a couple of dozen countries - now much smaller.
In November 2000 Tulip filed a patent infringement suit against Dell. It reckons the Texas PC giant copied its patented technology for motherboards. This patent is for a "Motherboard for a computer of the AT type, and a computer of the AT type comprising such motherboard" three years ago. Tulip wants damages based on Dell's sales of PCs - an estimated $17bn when the suit was filed - using this technology.
A database consultant in the hire of Tulip will pore over the Dell exec email records - which do not include those of Michael Dell. The court told Tulip that itwould have to present more evidence if it was to get its mitts on his archives, Silicon.com reports