Convolve, an engineering company that specializes in generating optimized trajectories to improve the performance of motion control systems, has filed lawsuits against Dell, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Western Digital. The small firm accused the industry giants of infringing its vibration control technology patents and demands royalties or halting sales of PCs or hard disk drives that utilize the tech.
Convolve said in its complaint with Texas Eastern District Court that its executives met with Dell officials 1998 to talk about a possible licensing agreement concerning Convolve’s vibration control technology for hard disk drives. The discussions reportedly included “simulations and hardware demonstrations” of Convolve’s technology as well as the disclosure of confidential and proprietary materials the computer maker regarding a patent application for the technology, reports ComputerWorld web-site. Dell has never licensed technologies developed by Convolve, yet, some of its personal computers as well as hard disk drives by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (a division of Hitachi) as well as Western Digital, infringe patents of the small technology firm.
In particularly, the lawsuit asserts that Dell’s Dimension 2400, Dimension C521 and Optiplex 740 models infringe its patent. In addition, Hitachi HDS722580VLAT20 Deskstar hard disk drive and Hitachi L020 and Hitachi L030 storage products as well as Western Digital’s WD 400BB, WD800 JB, WD 1600, WD 2000 and other hard drive models also violate a patent by Convolve.
Convolve is asking the court to order defendants to pay compensatory damages, interest fees and legal costs.
Back in mid-2000 Convolve and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) already filed a lawsuit against Compaq Computer Corp., a large maker of PCs at the time and a part of Hewlett Packard now, and Seagate Technology, the world’s largest producer of hard drives, with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs claimed their technology is incorporated in Seagate’s sound barrier technology, which was publicly announced on June 6, 2000 and also accused Compaq and Seagate of patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, tortious interference with contract and fraud relating to Convolve and MIT’s technologies. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, $800 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.
The court entered an order on July 14, 2006, that Convolve has no evidence to prove its claims regarding 10 alleged trade secrets, precluding Convolve from proceeding at trial on those claims, and precluding Convolve from alleging violations of the 10 alleged trade secrets by either Seagate or HP/Compaq prior to December 7, 2005, the date of the hearing.
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