EMC, Nexsan Go To Court Over 'Unity' Storage Moniker, But Others Have Used The Name Before

So Who Has The Right To 'Unity'?

EMC and Nexsan are embroiled in a legal dispute over who has the right to use the "Unity" name in reference to storage solutions.

EMC and Nexsan in April both released new storage solutions that they called "Unity" within the space of two weeks, causing a court battle over who gets to keep using it.

EMC on April 29 sent a letter to Nexsan asking Nexsan to cease using the Unity brand name for its latest storage solution, and to withdraw its application for a trademark on the Unity name. Nexsan on May 6 responded by filing a lawsuit against EMC asking that the court recognize Nexsan's trademark priority and non-infringement.

While Nexsan beat EMC to the punch by announcing Nexsan Unity and by applying for a trademark on the Unity name for storage solutions before its much larger competitor did so, EMC claims prior use of the trademark based on previously unannounced customer presentations held a year earlier.

When two storage vendors try to use the same trademark, sparks fly. But what if neither was the first to use the "Unity" brand in storage? What if others have used Unity with other forms of storage. That got CRN to looking, and guess what? Others have.

Turn the page to see how Nexsan and EMC use the Unity name, and how others used it before them.

Nexsan Unity

Nexsan on April 26 unveiled Nexsan Unity, a new storage solution combining its NST unified storage platform with its Transporter enterprise file sync and share technology to allow business data to be used for easy sharing and collaboration from primary storage without the need to send the data over a cloud.

The solution is the first to integrate Nexsan's Transporter technology, which came from Nexsan's late 2015 acquisition of Connected Data, with its NST primary storage solutions.

Unlike most file sync and share solutions, which send corporate data over a cloud, Transporter lets users connect to a broker in the cloud so their devices can locate and access the data without the data being in a cloud. Instead, users collaborate on and share data over the Internet.

EMC Unity

EMC on May 2 used EMC World to unveil EMC Unity, a new 2U unified storage solution that combines file and block storage capabilities. An all-flash storage version of EMC Unity features a list price less than $20,000, while a hybrid flash version starts at less than $8,000.

EMC Unity is the follow-on to EMC's VNX and VNXe series of midrange storage solutions. It is available as a complete hardware solution or as a virtual storage appliance.

Avid Unity

Neither Nexsan nor EMC was the first to use the "Unity" moniker for storage solutions. Avid Technology, Burlington, Mass., used to have a storage platform, Avid Unity, for sharing storage between users of its content collaboration and distribution technologies. Avid Unity was replaced by Avid Nexis.

Unity Moving and Storage

Unity Moving and Storage is a Wake Forest, N.C.-based company specializing in helping people relocate.

It is hard to imagine how Nexsan and EMC both missed this company when considering Unity as a storage brand name. After all, it already has three Yelp 5-star reviews.

Unity Self Storage

If EMC and Nexsan had checked with the Unity, Maine city government, they would have found a number of companies with the Unity name, including Unity Self Storage.


San Diego-based Entangled Media sells an application for storing and sharing media files called "younity."

Finding that name in a trademark search for "Unity" would have been difficult unless the searching organization slipped when typing in the word.

Unity Lockers

When faculty, staff, and students at the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., need cloud storage for their university-related projects, they turn to the institution's Unity Lockers.

Unity Lockers can be configured as project lockers for Web and non-Web pages, or as anonymous FTP lockers. Setting up a locker costs a mere $20, and owners pay $1.80 per year per 100 MBs of capacity.

Realtime Storage For Unity

Unity is a storage SDK (software development kit) for adding cloud storage to the Realtime framework.

Unity XL Entertainment Storage Unit

This version of "Unity Storage" from Israel-based Keter Plastic is made of weatherproof resin with a wood-like texture for use in outdoor entertaining, such as for barbecues. It can store a user's cookware, and is portable, thanks to two casters.