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HDD Giants Sued Over Patent Violations

Rembrandt IP Management have subjected both Seagate and Western Digital to federal lawsuist, alleging that both manufacturers have infringed on a couple of patents Rembrandt previously purchased from an inventor.

Uri Cohen filed back in 1997 patents that “cover low-noise toroidal thin film read/write heads”. After discovering that WD and Seagate apparently used his invention without compensating him, and realizing that he did not have the money to seek legal redress, Cohen decided to sell some interest in his patents to Rembrandt.

The patent lawsuit covers a wide variety of hard drive models, including Seagate’s Free Agent and Barracuda series, as well asWestern Digital’s My Passport and Caviar lines. How far will Rembrandt’s legal action go? A victory by the patent aggregator could force Seagate and Western Digital to pony up licensing fees—and perhaps encourage the development of more affordable and reliable SSDs?

Rembrandt markets itself as a company that helps independent inventors "commercialize their intellectual property in a way that would never have been possible if they acted alone." Yet you can bet this development will provide more ammunition for critics of the American patent system.

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  • Parsian
    wow is it me or do people just have remembered their ideas being used for free and that they can file a lawsuit?

    how many lawsuits have you read about this month?
    Reply
  • sykozis
    More than anyone cares to count....

    New Slogan: "The US Patent System.... Why turn a legit profit, when you can sue over a patent instead?"
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    wow, talk about one mans loss turning into someone else's profit
    Reply
  • What a disgrace; granted people should be recognised for their ideas, but suing companies shows greed more than anything.
    Reply
  • thillntn
    It sounds as if the end user is about to get a price increase :(.Better go buy some drives before the ruling :).
    Reply
  • bison88
    The patent system is ridiculous along with copyright laws by standards shown to the public in the 1990's with emerging computer technologies to consumers on an unparalleled level. Yes, both laws need to be revised and "modernized" without being as heavily unrealistic as they are now. Rambus is a perfect example of abusing patents when 90% of its money comes from licensing fees from hundreds of patents. How a business can exist and produce next to nothing for the industry and world in general, is beyond me. Same goes with the Big Four whom control almost all of this nations entertainment. Raping artists of their content while with record ticket sales in theaters blaming pirates for a crappy movie not selling.
    Reply
  • AMD_pitbull
    See, this is what bothers me: All these comments attack someone who made a patten, yet was too poor to act when he got used and abused by these big companies. Insted of thinking "wow, these guys are dicks for not paying him anything for his idea while they profited HUGE off them" they think "wow, he's an dick for wanting money for his idea". This isn't like the recent Smartphone BS that a company patented something then sued anyone with it, this guy already had it!

    Honestly, tell me what I'm missing, cuz, I really don't see this guy in the wrong at all. I see Seagate and WD. Sorry, but, that would be like you going out infringing on a crap load of ideas, then bitching about getting sued when you knew they were already protected.
    Reply
  • dogman_1234
    First Software...now Hardware.

    Good job America, you just let other countries look smarter...
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    As long as SSDs get cheaper, I don't care who gets sued. Just don't let it be me.
    Reply
  • spectrewind
    AMD_pitbullSee, this is what bothers me: All these comments attack someone who made a patten, yet was too poor to act when he got used and abused by these big companies. Insted of thinking "wow, these guys are dicks for not paying him anything for his idea while they profited HUGE off them" they think "wow, he's an dick for wanting money for his idea". This isn't like the recent Smartphone BS that a company patented something then sued anyone with it, this guy already had it! Honestly, tell me what I'm missing, cuz, I really don't see this guy in the wrong at all. I see Seagate and WD. Sorry, but, that would be like you going out infringing on a crap load of ideas, then bitching about getting sued when you knew they were already protected.
    Don't be sorry. You're right!! > YUP!
    He's not in the wrong. These are the kinds of very legitimate things the USPTO is designed to function for. It's very simple: Big company takes advantage of a development by a little guy, and little guy does not have resources to combat it, so big company wins. This is not the first time.

    The only counter to this is of there is some sort of R&D covenant between this garage developer and the corporate body.


    Examples like "Superdude777" are good ones of perpetuating ignorance. The company is liable to this guy. That's why it's a PATENT instead of a TRADE SECRET.
    It would be more accurate for SuperDUD to make an argement against a company like RAMBUS over their lawsuit activity over the last 20 or so years.

    The other people in here are speaking the consumer language based on the predictable outcome of higher prices and how a lawsuit will affect them. I hate the idea of paying the additional licensing fee as well, although it does not make it "right".

    If the conditions of this article are true, this *inventor* is legally owed 20 years worth of a cut on whatever he invented (assuming a granted licensee to use the patent). It was new, it was novel, it was not a naturally occurring "thing". It is a machine (and possibly a process), both of which can be patented. He was issued a patent, and there is no known prior art. Period.
    I'm no lawyer, just have a small amount of engineering law background...
    I believe, for these corporations, the patent is valid for 20 years (terminating in 2017). I guess it was a gamble on whether or not this would continue undiscovered for the duration of the patent, not counting on things like terminal disclaimers, possible extensions, etc.
    Reply