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Seagate lawsuit targets solid-state drive maker

CEO says, 'I told you so.'

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Seagate has fired off its first lawsuit at a maker of solid-state drives since CEO Bill Watkins hinted last month that the company might be forced into taking such action.

The target is US-based STEC, a manufacturer of SSDs for big business, the military and aerospace applications. Seagate accuses STEC of infringing four of its patents that detail how drives connect to host systems to enable feaures like error correction.

STEC told the New York Times that Seagate hadn't approached it to discuss resolving the matter out of court, but it's not as if the company didn't have any warning. Watkins told the world last month that lawsuits might be the outcome if Flash drives become too popular.

Watkins told the NYT yesterday that one of his goals is to promote cross-licensing deals and partnerships, but a 'sue first, negotiate later' strategy doesn't strike us as the best way of making friends and influencing people.

Patent infringement fights almost always end in such deals, and Seagate's choice of STEC may simply be its way of sending a signal to the SSD arena's better known players - Samsung, SanDisk and Intel among them - that now's the time to come to the storage veteran upon bended knee.

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