News came in today that Rembrandt IP Management has sued hard drive manufacturers, Seagate and Western Digital. According to Rembrandt's chairman, Dr. Paul Schneck, many products from Seagate and Western violate a pair of patents that Rembrandt purchased from inventor Uri Cohen.
Both patents were filed in 1997 by Uri Cohen, a California inventor who eventually launched his own investigations of Seagate and Western Digital drives. Convinced that the companies were using his work without compensation, Cohen found himself unable to secure licenses; he was also short of cash to fund a hugely expensive patent lawsuit in federal court. So he sold his patents to Rembrandt, which has the deep pockets needed to see the litigation through.
The two patents in question are the use of low-noise toroidal thin film read/write heads that minimize magnetic interference. Such heads are important for current high-capacity drives; noise and interference become more important the tighter the storage density.
The products that are being named in the complaint are Seagate's Free Agent, Replica, Black Armor, Expansion, Barracuda, Momentus, Savvio, Cheetah, Constellation, Pipeline, DB35, and SV35 disk drives. Western Digital's products include the company's popular My Book line, along with Elements, ShareSpace, My Passport, RE3, Caviar, and Scorpio.
Seagate and Western Digital own a sizeable chunk in the US Hard Drive market, which is a 12 billion dollar Business and Rembrandt wants a “reasonable royalty” to cover the use of its technology.