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Sun throws legal counterpunch at NetApp

As Sandisk throws lawsuits round like confetti

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Sun has issued a counter-lawsuit against Network Appliance (NetApp) which last month sued the Java overlords alleging it had violated seven of its patents.

NetApp had also requested that the firm withdraw its ZFS file system from the open-source-loving crowd, restricting it only for use in computers and to forbid its use in storage devices.

Sun said such a condition could not be met and waded in yesterday with its own lawsuit, according to CNET. Sun claims NetApp patents are invalid and accuses if of breaching a raft of Sun patents.

Serial blogger and Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said in a blog post on Wednesday that he had "no interest whatever in suing" NetApp.

But he reckoned Sun had no choice but to take action to refute NetApps allegations, and consequently the firm is going after a large chunk in damages.

He said: "We're unwilling to retract innovation from the free software community, and we can't tolerate an encumbrance that limits ZFS's value - to our customers, the community at large, or Sun's shareholders."

Meanwhile, at the other end of the storage market, SanDisk confirmed on Wednesday that it had filed three patent infringement actions in the US against some 25 firms that sell various removable flash storage products.

It alleges that several SanDisk patents had been infringed by the likes of well-known storage vendors that include Kingston, LG Electronics and Apacer.

California-based SanDisk said it was claiming damages and a permanent injunction in the federal court actions.

It has also called for an exclusion order from the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban importation of the products into the US.

Of course, SanDisk itself isn't immune to being on the wrong side of a lawsuit. Just last month, the firm and its CEO Eli Harari received grand jury subpoenas from the US Department of Justice for possible anti-trust violations in the NAND flash memory market.

So there you have it, for anyone who thinks storage can be dryer than a camel’s armpit, it looks like things are hotting up nicely in the scramble for intellectual property rights and freedom, man. ®

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