Seagate goes after solid-state drive maker

If you can't compete, litigate. That seems to be a common mode of operation in the IT industry, and the latest company to embrace it is Seagate Technologies. The New York Times reports that the world's number-one hard drive manufacturer has filed a lawsuit against STEC, a solid-state drive maker, alleging that the firm violates four Seagate patents. Those patents are related to the way "solid-state drive technology interacts with computers, for purposes like error correction," the Times explains.

According to Seagate CEO William D. Watkins, STEC's purported patent infringement is "not a big financial issue yet because the [solid-state drive] market is just taking off." However, he goes on to say, "That's why we want to set things straight now." Seagate isn't looking to put STEC out of business—rather, the New York Times quotes Watkins as saying the hard drive maker wishes to "promote the kind of cross-licensing and partnerships that have always been part of the hard-drive market."

Meanwhile, STEC's VP of Marketing and Business Development, Patrick Wilkison, claims Seagate clearly feels threatened by the rising popularity of SSDs, which have begun showing up in notebooks from Apple, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and others. Wilkison believes Seagate is "defending its turf" via this lawsuit.

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