HP Slaps EMC with 7 Patent Lawsuits

Hewlett-Packard Monday filed seven separate patent infringement lawsuits against storage device maker EMC.

The suits, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, target certain features in EMC’s Symmetrix, Clariion and TimeFinder products.

The suit is also in retaliation for EMC’s patent lawsuits against HP’s new friend and technology provider, Hitachi (Quote, Company Info, News), as well as against HP directly through ongoing litigation relative to StorageApps, which HP acquired last year.

EMC, HP and Hitachi are three of the biggest makers of storage networks respectively.

“We would prefer to compete with EMC in the marketplace,” HP vice president of marketing Bob Schultz said in a statement. “EMC, however, has opted to pursue a lawsuit against one partners. HP has a responsibility to ensure that, as we compete in the marketplace, we are not competing against our own intellectual property. We have a strong patent portfolio covering storage technology and we will protect it.”

Executives with EMC were not immediately available for comment.

Back in April, EMC petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. courts to block data storage rival Hitachi Data Systems and its parent from importing Hitachi’s HORC, HOARC and ShadowImage lines.

A few days later, Hitachi hit back; saying EMC’s case is without merit and vowed to defend itself.

Specific patents named in the HP lawsuit include: 5,247,618 (data transfer between storage media); 5,315,602 (reducing the number of reads and writes in a RAID environment); 5,327,658 (host computers coupled by a switching network to a storage array); 5,391,327 (method and apparatus for handling a disk failure in a RAID array); 5,917,253 (live AC mains power selector for a disk storage system); 6,269,453 (method and apparatus for handling a disk failure in a RAID array); and 6,356,979 (method and apparatus for presenting logical units to host computers).

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said it is seeking monetary damages for past infringement as well as an injunction that would prohibiting EMC from selling the named products.