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Flash startup Pure Storage fights EMC in trade-secrets battle

Stephen Lawson | Nov. 28, 2013
A legal war between EMC and flash startup Pure Storage has escalated to charges of patent infringement and illegally obtaining a storage array to mine it for intellectual property.

In early January, after Pure started pressing ConRes about where the array was, EMC sent it back to the New Hampshire facility, where Pure employees picked it up but "found the machine damaged to such an extent that it could not be reused or resold," the counter-complaint said. In the month or so that EMC had the array, it had accessed and retained a copy of the boot drive containing proprietary software, Pure said.

Soon after, ConRes admitted it had sent the array to EMC, and EMC admitted it had copied the boot drive, according to Pure. "EMC also acknowledged that it had learned from its access to and use of the Product and Software," Pure said in its claim.

The episode violated its end-user agreement with ConRes, among other things, Pure claims. Its complaints against EMC from the episode include breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.

EMC's action against Pure in the Delaware court on Tuesday is conventional, by comparison. It accuses Pure of using patented EMC technologies, including innovations in data deduplication and in scheduling read and write operations for solid-state storage. The startup did so in a bid to catch up with EMC, which has been developing flash storage since 2005, EMC said.

In a statement, EMC reiterated its allegations against Pure.

"The facts remain - Pure Storage has waged a deliberate, unlawful campaign to steal EMC intellectual property. This latest patent infringement lawsuit is further evidence that Pure Storage has engaged in unauthorized use of EMC's proprietary and patented technology. Again, we are simply taking the necessary legal action to protect EMC's rights."

 

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