Feeds

Seagate may face noise reduction patent payout

But it's not shouting about it

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Just as Seagate is getting back to health after a year of recovery, it has been accused of destroying evidence pertinent to a 10-year old noise reduction technology lawsuit instigated against it by Convolve and MIT.

In the 1990s, MIT academics developed "input shaping" vibration and noise reduction technology that steadied a hard disk drive's read:write head after a seek movement. This allowed it to read or write data faster, having to wait less time for the head to be firmly in position, and do so with less noise.

Convolve was a company formed to commercialise the technology which it licensed from MIT. Details of the patented technology were provided under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to both Seagate and Compaq - now part of HP - in 1998. Seagate subsequently developed disk drive products using similar technology. Convolve filed a patent infringement suite in mid-2000 which MIT was involved in as the originating technology licensor.

The suit, which claims $800m damages and a bar on Seagate and Compaq using the technology, has been ongoing since then. Compaq has been bought by HP and Seagate is said to have indemnified HP against any adverse results if the lawsuit is won by Convolve and MIT.

Now a potential bombshell has been revealed. According to court documents revealed by the New York Times (pdf), a Seagate servo engineer, Paul Galloway, has signed an affidavit alleging that Seagate broke the terms of the NDA. The affidavit suggests that it potentially used the Convolve technology in its own development efforts. Not only that, but it destroyed evidence that it had done so.

Galloway left Seagate in July last year and then contacted Convolve's lawyers. His affidavit claims Seagate distributed information about the Convolve technology and used it to develop its own, competing, technology. It also allegedly deleted code for a disk drive it was supposed to reveal as evidence to the court. It also deleted or did not reveal pertinent engineering meeting notes and has lost or destroyed Galloway's PC which stored material relevant to the Convolve case.

If this affidavit is accepted by the trial judge, then Seagate may face quite severe penalties, as US courts take an exceedingly dim view of corporations which withhold or destroy evidence. The affidavit may also blow a hole in Seagate's resistance to the Convolve suite, encouraging it to settle. A Seagate spokesperson said it: "cannot comment on pending litigation." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.