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Seagate May Sue if Solid State Disks Get Popular 242

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sure-why-not dept.
tero writes "Even though Seagate has announced it will be offering SSD disks of its own in 2008, their CEO Bill Watkins seems to be sending out mixed signals in a recent Fortune interview 'He's convinced, he confides, that SSD makers like Samsung and Intel (INTC) are violating Seagate's patents. (An Intel spokeswoman says the company doesn't comment on speculation.) Seagate and Western Digital (WDC), two of the major hard drive makers, have patents that deal with many of the ways a storage device communicates with a computer, Watkins says. It stands to reason that sooner or later, Seagate will sue — particularly if it looks like SSDs could become a real threat.'"
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Seagate May Sue if Solid State Disks Get Popular

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  • by Coopjust (872796) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:25AM (#22845276)
    It's part of the warranty terms with the shipping.

    Anyhow, the address is: 920 Disc Dr
    Scotts Valley, CA 95066-4544


    Disc Drive. Ugh.
  • Confusion (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:42AM (#22845448)

    So seagate, are they violating your patent? If so, proof please, if not, you yield all rights in case they are found to at a later date
    I think you may be confusing patents with trademarks. Trademarks must be actively defended, where I believe patents on the other hand can be sat on for awhile.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2008 @12:02PM (#22845666)
    DEC sold a line of solid state disks somewhere around 20 years ago, for which they probably had
    patents but by now these will be expired. (They used the rejects from memory fabs, which they
    called "the skim milk of the crop", and worked around all the bad bits to get usable memory that
    was cheap enough to use.) Certainly one can use similar techniques to theirs (likely today with
    better memory) and make solid state disks. No way Seagate or anyone else could patent that (once the
    old technology was pointed out).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24, 2008 @12:11PM (#22845784)
    ...actively practiced for 50+ years or longer. And it pissed people off back then as much as it does today. All that has changed is the length of time you can sit on your patent before wielding it, to avoid its effective nullification by Doctrine of Latches.

    And BTW, Gibson's patent from 1999 does actually seem to cover the Guitar Hero game's "system and method of a simulated musical performance". Blame the USPTO and the current patent laws, not Gibson here, because Gibson is following the patent law pretty much exactly as the current patent law stands, to protect that technology to which they have a currently valid legal stake in.
  • Re:Who was first? (Score:2, Informative)

    by tzhuge (1031302) on Monday March 24, 2008 @12:30PM (#22846054)

    If I remember correctly, under the US patent system, the first one to come up with the idea gets the patent. In some other places, first one to file gets the patent.

    So, I believe if you keep something a trade secret and someone else tries to patent that technology, you can acquire the patent by demonstrating you had the idea first.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @12:37PM (#22846162) Journal
    Unfortunately, that's not the address for serving a notice of suit and motion for judgment. They refused flat out to give it to me.
  • by fifirebel (137361) on Monday March 24, 2008 @01:15PM (#22846792)

    Here's an honest question I've been wondering about for a while. Why don't we use GigE or 10GigE to communicate with storage? I imagine there's more overhead than with the currently used protocols, but how much are we talking about here? I'm more of a software than hardware guy, though I know a little about the different layers in the ISO model. *waves hands*. Build in a router on the motherboard, have a port for talking to the outside world and a few ports for talking to storage. Economy of scale and the hardware would be dirt cheap... right? Since it seems like an obvious idea, I'm sure I'm missing something. Would someone who knows these things care to elaborate? Tnx!

    Because the hard drives (and SSDs) throughput is already dwarfed by current wire speeds. The best hard drive you can get can push 1 Gbps (that's bits per second) while SATA and SAS can deliver 3 Gbps. Parallel SCSI can deliver 3.6 Gbps. And when you really need a SAN, there are already iSCSI and fibre channel.
  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Monday March 24, 2008 @02:14PM (#22847818)
    According to the state of California, Seagate Technology's agent for service is:

    C T CORPORATION SYSTEM
    818 WEST SEVENTH ST
    LOS ANGELES, CA 90017

    Looking up CT's record shows this as *their* agent for service:

    JERE KEPRIOS
    C/O C T CORPORAITON SYSTEM
    818 W. SEVENTH STREET
    LOS ANGELES, CA 90017

    I'm pretty sure every state keeps their corporate records online, and these records will always have the designated agent for service given. I don't usually even bother with a company's web site anymore when I need that kind of info.
  • by torkus (1133985) on Monday March 24, 2008 @02:21PM (#22847960)
    2006 called, they want their SSD back.

    Wear leveling works. Period. Do your homework and check back. FYI, a SSD with an acceptible price point (for business/enthusiast/high-end users) and high performance IS HERE NOW.

    I suggest you look at the access times and data transfer rates (especially for small, random reads) on some of the new 64GB-256MG drives floating around. They're a bit shy of the *top end* magnetic disks in linear read but completly BURY them in random read (which constitutes the vast majority HDD activity) and surpass the average-joe drives most computers come with in all aspects. The specs on the latest Samsung SSD (if accurate) beat out the fastest magnetic media you can buy: 100MB/Sec read, 80MB/sec write.
  • by Bobb Sledd (307434) on Monday March 24, 2008 @04:55PM (#22849942) Homepage
    No, I've lived the big corporation IP legal department scene, and I tell you that is not their mindset at all regarding IP. I supposed if a company was misguided, it could do something like that... but it's unheard of.

    Yes, they might try to do what they can to stop the little guy, but not by legal-flooding him. That is mythological.

    Usually a big company would rather just settle and make the little guy go away. If it's a reasonable enough request, they usually do it. If not, then they will litigate. Litigation is expensive, even for the big company. And it's compounded if they lose (and they do lose quite often -- remember its often jury trial). But they don't just go filing new irrelevant law suits and filing meaningless motions for the sole fact of tying things up in court. That might work in criminal court, but that would just annoy a civil judge.

    Besides, most attorneys I know would want the credit for winning the case (if it can be won), and if not, then the credit for reducing damages as much as possible. You don't do that by pissing off the plaintiff.

    Also, most Asian-based company are notorious for simply rolling over to IP conflicts (don't fight hard at all).

    Trust me, a little guy like that can cause MUCH more headache for a big company than a big company is willing to do him. What the RIAA does is really unusual.

    You are right about certain kinds of patents. Software patents and business process patents are ridiculous in my mind, and should go away.

    But if a company has spent large sums of money in researching and developing a product, I have no problem with them patenting even just the incremental changes -- those are not very strong patents on their own. But also, those little increments are exactly how the little guy would cram a wedge into the system.

    As a large corporation, we often spoke ill of the "think tanks" -- just groups of people who are paid to do nothing but think up ideas that large companies might infringe on, and then patent them -- hoping their patent investment will pay off. Those guys never created any real products. They just leech from those who do.

    Cross-licensing is an effective way of getting the benefit of the other guy's patents... but its a double-edge sword. If that company pisses you off, you have less to sue with.
  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000&yahoo,com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @05:54PM (#22850536)

    To be fair, it seems like their plan is to sue to get a piece of it, via technology that they really did create. It wouldn't be very profitable just to stop progress.

    They, Seagate and Western Digital, can get a piece of it by releasing their own flash drives instead of suing others.

    Falcon
  • by Cecil (37810) on Monday March 24, 2008 @07:00PM (#22851060) Homepage
    The specs on the latest Samsung SSD (if accurate) beat out the fastest magnetic media you can buy: 100MB/Sec read, 80MB/sec write.

    Not really true. Seagate's Cheetah 15K.5 300GB, being (last I checked) the fastest magnetic media you can buy, can easily beat that. It peaks at 135MB/sec. Some other 15,000 rpm drives can post comparable numbers.

    I still agree with your post in general, but that specific statement is untrue.

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