Xpoint Sues Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Others Over Storage Patents

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Xpoint Technologies of Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Delaware against Intel, FarStone Technology, Acronis, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft, Acer, Acer America, Gateway, Toshiba and Toshiba America.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and injunctions to stop those companies from using the technology covered in two Xpoint patents.

The first patent in question covers a system and method for recovering from a computer crash resulting from damage to the disk drive or corruption of an application, operating system or data. The disk is divided into primary and secondary partitions, each with a unique operating system for executing applications.

The technology keeps track of communications between the partitions to verify the integrity of the backup status information file in order to aid in recovery of the data in case of a crash. The patent was filed in 2002 and granted in 2006.

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The second patent is a continuation of the first and was granted in 2008.

Xpoint uses the technology in its One Button Restore solutions for small and midsize business and enterprise customers. According to the company's Web site, One Button Restore lets end users simply and efficiently recover both data and business-critical software applications.

IBM currently licenses Xpoint's software for all its computer systems and point-of-sales systems.

Frank Wang, the lead inventor of both patents and the president and CEO of Xpoint, founded the company in 1994. According to the lawsuit, Wang was a member of the original core technology team that developed the first IBM PC.

Xpoint claims in the lawsuit that Intel asked the company in September 2002 about evaluating its technology, but no agreement was made. However, Intel did manufacture chipsets and motherboards, which included FarStone's RestoreIT and Acronis' True Image products, both of which infringe Xpoint's patents, Xpoint said.

HP contacted Xpoint in January 2003 about evaluating the One Button Restore technology, but did not enter into a broad licensing agreement. However, Xpoint said in the lawsuit, HP eventually sold its computers with its Backup & Recovery Manager software, which does infringe on the Xpoint technology. Xpoint's experience with Dell, starting in January 2003, was similar to that of HP, according to the lawsuit.

Xpoint also claims in its lawsuit that Microsoft infringes on Xpoint patents in its Windows Vista Home, Vista Basic, Vista Enterprise, Vista Business, Vista Ultimate and Server 2008 operating systems.

Operating systems and/or Intel motherboards and chipsets with the Xpoint technology are used in systems from Dell, Acer, Acer America, Gateway, Toshiba and Toshiba America, Xpoint alleges in the lawsuit.

Xpoint also left open the possibility of filing similar lawsuits against other vendors.

Xpoint in its lawsuit asked that the court determine that the defendants are infringing on its patents and that the infringement has been willful. Xpoint further asks for preliminary and permanent injunctions against the defendants, and that it be awarded damages and costs as well as treble damages because of the alleged willful infringement.

Xpoint and the defendants declined to comment on the case. Gateway and Dell spokespeople said in separate e-mail responses to requests for comment that they do not comment on pending litigation, while an Intel spokesperson said that Intel is evaluating the claims and has no further comment.

A Microsoft spokesperson emailed, "We have not yet been served, so it would be premature to comment."