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Seagate, Cornice settle spat... for now

Can't start fighting again until 2008

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Hard disk drive makers Seagate and Cornice have ended their feud and granted themselves 20 months' breathing space before they're allowed to start fighting again. The two companies this week said they had dismissed their lawsuits and countersuits and "agreed not to sue each other for patent infringement through the end of 2007".

Presumably, come January 2008, they'll be free to start sparring all over again, though we image by then they will have gone off the idea. We shall see...

Seagate sued Cornice in June 2004. It alleged the smaller company had incorporated its technology into 1in hard drives sold as the Cornice Storage Element. A week later Western Digital sued Cornice too, making much the same claims. Cornice kept its own counsel until August 2004, when it countersued Seagate, claiming that its patents were invalid. It countersued WD the following month.

In December 2004, Cornice and WD made up and dropped their respective lawsuits. They did not reveal the terms and conditions underpinning the agreement.

By May 2005, Cornice was facing Seagate in a US International Trade Commission tribunal to hear whether its products infringed Seagate's patents and would therefore be prevented from being imported into the US. To escape such a fate, Cornice agreed to stop making its 1, 1.4 and 2GG Storage Element drives. In return, Seagate withdrew the complaint it had made to the ITC.

However, Seagate did not agree to drop its original lawsuit - until today, that is. Once again, settlement terms were not disclosed. ®

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