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Pure swats away EMC patent punch, mulls $14m verdict appeal

Storage hardware infringed dedupe designs, jury finds

Pure Storage has been given a mild slap on the wrist for infringing part of an EMC-owned patent describing deduplication.

Mountain View-based Pure was accused of trampling over five EMC patents covering dedupe and RAID technology back in November 2013. The dispute went to a Delaware district court, and then to a jury trial where, yesterday, EMC won part of one claim. The other four claims were dropped or thrown out.

  • Patent 6,915,475 – EMC dropped it from the suit.
  • Patent 8,375,187 – District court summarily ruled against EMC.
  • Patent 7,434,015 – District court found Pure did infringe aspects of it; jury trial said patent was valid, and awarded damages.
  • Patent 6,904,556 – Jury trial ruled Pure did not infringe.
  • Patent 7,373,464 – Jury trial ruled Pure did not infringe.

The '015 patent deals with deduplication.

Massachusetts-based EMC had sought some $80m in damages. The jury awarded $14m in reasonable royalty damages, with nothing for lost profit damages.

Pure announced it intends to appeal the verdict: "We believe that there are strong grounds to challenge the infringement ruling by the District Court and the validity finding by the jury, with respect to the ‘015 patent. We intend to vigorously challenge the findings with respect to the ‘015 patent in post-trial motions before the District Court and, if necessary, appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit."

Aaron Rakers of financial analyst house Stifel noted: "Pure notes that it does not expect to pay ongoing royalties to EMC and that there are alternatives ready to go for software feature/functionalities that the court found to be infringing EMC’s de-dupe patent."

However, an EMC spokesperson told us: "While EMC is grateful the court and jury ruled in our favor, Pure, an admitted and adjudicated infringer, is trying to downplay the significance of this ruling."

And then added this: "Pure infringes a pioneering inline de-duplication patent owned by EMC. The damages awarded were for past infringement only. Every product sold by Pure going forward with EMC’s patented technology from the ‘015 patent is willful infringement." ®

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