EMC Countersues HP Over Storage Patents


EMC on Monday filed a patent infringement complaint against Hewlett-Packard, hours after HP filed a similar lawsuit against EMC.

In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Worcester, Mass., EMC alleged that certain HP data storage products infringe on six EMC-owned patents, including four related to SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility) and TimeFinder software products and two related to EMC's data migration and mainframe data storage technologies. The six patents are the same ones over which EMC sued Hitachi Data Systems and parent company Hitachi Ltd. in April. Hitachi supplies HP's highest-end storage arrays on an OEM basis.

HP and EMC have become bitter rivals in the storage industry, especially after HP's acquisition of Compaq Computer, which lifted HP to the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in most categories of the storage industry.

On Monday, HP filed a patent infringement suit against EMC in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit claimed that EMC's Symmetrix, Clariion and TimeFinder products infringe on seven HP U.S. patents. The complaint is based heavily on intellectual property developed by Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) and the premerger Compaq, which had acquired DEC several years ago.

A spokesperson for Hopkinton-based EMC said the company was surprised by HP's lawsuit and that HP never contacted EMC to discuss the issue. However, the spokesperson said EMC had discussions for four years with Hitachi related to intellectual property issues before filing its April suit. "As a result, we believe HP's litigation is groundless and without merit," the spokesperson said.