Patent Holders Sue Everyone Over Hard Drive Patents — And For Good Measure, Uses ITC Loophole Too

from the this-is-innovation? dept

A month ago, Steven and Mary Reiber apparently sued a bunch of companies over patents having to do with hard drives. The lawsuits were filed against Western Digital, Seagate, HP, Toshiba and Dell. I wouldn’t have even noticed if this other bit of news had then crossed the wire. It seems that the Reibers decided that just suing wasn’t enough, so they also decided to use every patent holders new favorite loophole to get injunctions without the courts having a say: asking the International Trade Commission to ban the import of products. And, of course, the ITC has now agreed to investigate the claim. Apparently the Reibers couldn’t even wait for the court case to put some more pressure on these firms to settle. None of the articles make it clear what the patent in question is, but the couple appears to hold at least one patent on dissipative ceramic bonding tips. I have no idea if the companies in question are actually violating the patent, or even if the patent is legitimate — but simultaneously filing patent lawsuits against a bunch of big name companies while also taking the loophole route certainly fits in with the typically questionable activities of patent holders who are trying to squeeze other companies for money, rather than ones looking to promote innovation. Hopefully someone has some more details on this case (or can get access to the filings). But, whenever a patent holder suddenly files a lawsuit against basically everyone in the space, it makes you wonder if the idea in their patent wasn’t “obvious” to those skilled in the art from the beginning.

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Comments on “Patent Holders Sue Everyone Over Hard Drive Patents — And For Good Measure, Uses ITC Loophole Too”

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GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Questionable strategy?

Assuming for a millisecond that the patent is actually valid, why on earth would you sue several LARGE companies at once?? They will only POOL their financial and legal resources and align them against you.

Next time, try suing the SMALLEST company first, pray for a win and -THEN- use that judgment as leverage against the big boyz.

And I wonder if the new “obviousness” guidelines are to be used when reviewing patents?? Or will they be reviewed only under the standard they were granted under??

Sorry, blending posts here. Try to keep up, will ya?


Brian says:


I was reading about this somewhere yesterday and I hope I’m remembering correctly, but the patent doesn’t actually cover the HDDs or anything in them, the patent is over a process used during the manufacturing process–something like a cold soldering process (IIRC). This isn’t like the Qualcomm thing where the patent was embedded in the final product.

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