Brocade blocks McData in court battle

Storage Wars

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Brocade Communications Systems Inc has won the first round in its court battle with McData Corp, beating off McData's request for a preliminary injunction that would have forced Brocade to disable some features in some of its products.

The United States District Court for the District of Colorado has denied McData's request for it to issue an interim or pre-trial preliminary injunction ahead of a full court hearing of the lawsuit it launched in February. That suit alleged the frame filtering or traffic filtering technology in Brocade's SAN switches infringes its patents.

McData's lawyers had set themselves a tough goal to win a preliminary injunction, because under US law a preliminary injunction can only be granted if the plaintiff can proves that multiple conditions have been met.

The court said that McData had not proven that it is reasonably likely to win the full trial. Senior District Judge John Kane said that provisionally he accepted Brocade's argument that the two sides signed a deal in 1999 which barred them from suing each other for patent infringement.

A "delighted" Brocade issued a statement in which it claimed that this provisional finding by the court shows which way the full battle will play out.

"Although the denial of McData's request for a preliminary injunction does not conclude the lawsuit, it does provide a clear indication of how we believe the court will ultimately rule," Brocade said.

McData also issued a statement, in which it repeated the court's statement that its findings were only provisional "and are not binding on the parties at trial," and that while Brocade only had to raise a substantial question about its defenses to avoid an injunction, Brocade would bear the burden of proving its defenses at the trial.

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