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Long standing Seagate patent lawsuit gets new evidence

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 30 Dec 2009 14:43 User comments (4)

Long standing Seagate patent lawsuit gets new evidence Seagate, the world's largest producer of hard drive disks, may finally be in trouble in a 10-year-old lawsuit brought against them by Convolve over technologies allegedly stolen.
An ex-Seagate employee has come forward and signed an affidavit claiming that Seagate, despite having a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Convolve, ripped off the small company's technology then destroyed evidence of doing so.

Convolve sued Seagate in 2000 for $800 million USD over patent infringement relating to technology used to reduce noise and vibration in HDDs. Researchers at M.I.T had developed the techniques and Convolve was the first company to sell it. In 1999, Seagate met with Convolve to discuss the technologies but the NDA stated that the larger company could not use what was learned for their own benefit. Within one year, Seagate released a competing technology called "Sound Barrier" which used Convolve's sound reduction techniques.

Paul A. Galloway, the former employee, says that Seagate only began to try sound reduction techniques after their meetings with Convolve, however management had failed to tell its engineers that there was an NDA in place.

“I was deceived by my management’s failure to tell me that the Convolve technology discussed within Seagate was NDA protected,”
says Galloway. “If I had known about Convolve’s NDA with Seagate, I would not have worked on competing technology.”

Afterward, says the affidavit, Seagate destroyed computers and blueprints used on the technology. Seagate denied comment.

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4 user comments

131.12.2009 3:02

Seagate is junk anyways!!

27.1.2010 11:52

Hitachi (formerly the IBM hard drive division) is junk (I've owned 3 Hitachi hard drives and one IBM hard drive...all failed in pretty short order). Seagate has the best warranty (5 years) vs the other big manufacturers and I've never had a single Seagate HD fail on me whereas I *HAVE* had DOA WD's and a WD fail on me that lost me a lot of scanned photos and documents. Every user's experience is different, but saying "Seagate is junk" is not accurate IMO.

37.1.2010 22:31

If Mr. Galloway knew the technology was derived from meetings with Convolve, it's a bit disingenuous to say that he was deceived by management's failure to tell him it was under NDA. Especially so, since he wouldn't have been allowed to contact Convolve after the meetings (because Seagate's management knew it was under NDA). On technology that complex, not being able to contact Convolve during development of Seagate's own technology should have sent up a red flag. It would have told Mr. Galloway that Seagate had never licensed the technology to begin with.

That said, it's still a smoking gun against Seagate and if true indicates that they did steal the technology.

417.1.2010 13:09

Originally posted by B33rdrnkr:
Seagate is junk anyways!!

i disagree.
my current rig is running two 500GB SATA seagates. and has not let me down in the past 3 years. now when the warranty support is past it's date, they may flip out, but it's not right to say that they're junk. my ps2 has had a 200GB seagate drive in it since 4-5 years ago without failure. now the first seagate i put in it didnt format properly or something stupid, but the second worked like a charm, and has been since then. what happened to the first seagate? data backup drive in an external enclosure.

i've had about 3-4 maxtor 200GB drives go bad on me at different points, and ever since the first 2 WD drives i bought crapped out quickly, i've never bought anther WD ever. i hate even thinking about using them for projects. hitachi/ibm deskstars have a bad rep also. i would rather get seagate and maxtor over any other brand out there. but as iguana said, every experience is different.

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