Pure swats away EMC patent punch, mulls $14m verdict appeal

Storage hardware infringed dedupe designs, jury finds

Pure Storage has been given a mild slap on the wrist for infringing part of an EMC-owned patent describing deduplication.

Mountain View-based Pure was accused of trampling over five EMC patents covering dedupe and RAID technology back in November 2013. The dispute went to a Delaware district court, and then to a jury trial where, yesterday, EMC won part of one claim. The other four claims were dropped or thrown out.

  • Patent 6,915,475 – EMC dropped it from the suit.
  • Patent 8,375,187 – District court summarily ruled against EMC.
  • Patent 7,434,015 – District court found Pure did infringe aspects of it; jury trial said patent was valid, and awarded damages.
  • Patent 6,904,556 – Jury trial ruled Pure did not infringe.
  • Patent 7,373,464 – Jury trial ruled Pure did not infringe.

The '015 patent deals with deduplication.

Massachusetts-based EMC had sought some $80m in damages. The jury awarded $14m in reasonable royalty damages, with nothing for lost profit damages.

Pure announced it intends to appeal the verdict: "We believe that there are strong grounds to challenge the infringement ruling by the District Court and the validity finding by the jury, with respect to the ‘015 patent. We intend to vigorously challenge the findings with respect to the ‘015 patent in post-trial motions before the District Court and, if necessary, appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit."

Aaron Rakers of financial analyst house Stifel noted: "Pure notes that it does not expect to pay ongoing royalties to EMC and that there are alternatives ready to go for software feature/functionalities that the court found to be infringing EMC’s de-dupe patent."

However, an EMC spokesperson told us: "While EMC is grateful the court and jury ruled in our favor, Pure, an admitted and adjudicated infringer, is trying to downplay the significance of this ruling."

And then added this: "Pure infringes a pioneering inline de-duplication patent owned by EMC. The damages awarded were for past infringement only. Every product sold by Pure going forward with EMC’s patented technology from the ‘015 patent is willful infringement." ®

Other stories you might like

  • Former chip research professor jailed for not disclosing Chinese patents
    This is how Beijing illegally accesses US tech, say Feds

    The former director of the University of Arkansas’ High Density Electronics Center, a research facility that specialises in electronic packaging and multichip technology, has been jailed for a year for failing to disclose Chinese patents for his inventions.

    Professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang was in 2020 indicted for wire fraud and passport fraud, with the charges arising from what the US Department of Justice described as a failure to disclose “ties to companies and institutions in China” to the University of Arkansas or to the US government agencies for which the High Density Electronics Center conducted research under contract.

    At the time of the indictment, then assistant attorney general for national security John C. Demers described Ang’s actions as “a hallmark of the China’s targeting of research and academic collaborations within the United States in order to obtain U.S. technology illegally.” The DoJ statement about the indictment said Ang’s actions had negatively impacted NASA and the US Air Force.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla sues former engineer, claims he stole Dojo supercomputer trade secrets
    AI is meant to solve tech challenges innate in designing, running complex system

    Tesla has started legal action against a former employee the company alleges was copying confidential data from its Project Dojo supercomputer onto his own systems outside the company. It further alleges he tried to conceal his actions by submitting a substitute laptop for inspection by the carmaker's information security team.

    In documents filed with the US District Court in California [PDF], Tesla names the former employee involved in the case as Alexander Yatskov, and reveals that he was hired at the end of January to work as a thermal engineer on it’s supercomputer for artificial intelligence work, codenamed Dojo, in order to help solve "the technological challenges that come from designing and running a complex, custom supercomputer."

    Some time later, Tesla claims that its engineers discovered that Yatskov was moving confidential company information from workplace devices and accounts onto his own personal devices, in contravention of official Tesla policies.

    Continue reading
  • Alarm raised after Microsoft wins data-encoding patent
    This is why we can't have nice things, potentially

    Microsoft last month received a US patent covering modifications to a data-encoding technique called rANS, one of several variants in the Asymmetric Numeral System (ANS) family that support data compression schemes used by leading technology companies and open source projects.

    The creator of ANS, Jarosław Duda, assistant professor at Institute of Computer Science at Jagiellonian University in Poland, has been trying for years to keep ANS patent-free and available for public use. Back in 2018, Duda's lobbying helped convince Google to abandon its ANS-related patent claim in the US and Europe. And he raised the alarm last year when he learned Microsoft had applied for an rANS (range asymmetric number system) patent.

    Now that Microsoft's patent application has been granted, he fears the utility of ANS will be diminished, as software developers try to steer clear of a potential infringement claim.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022