Cornice Fires Back, Sues Seagate

Hard-drive maker Cornice has filed a countersuit in response to a patent infringement lawsuit filed in June by rival hard-drive maker Seagate Technology.

Seagate's lawsuit alleged that Cornice's 1-inch Storage Element hard drives violate six of Seagate's patents covering a range of hard-drive technologies, including the guiding system for the actuator arm that scans the surface of the disk for data. The lawsuit seeks to prevent Cornice from selling the Storage Element drives in the U.S. as well as unspecified monetary damages.

In July, Seagate took its claims of patent infringement to the U.S. International Trade Commission, seeking to block the import of any device that contains a Storage Element hard drive.

Available in 1GB, 1.5GB, and 2GB versions, Cornice's Storage Element hard drives are found in a number of portable electronics devices including MP3 players from Sony, which uses them in its Aiwa brand players; Digital Networks North America, which uses them for its Rio brand audio products; South Korea's IRiver; and South Korea's Digitalway.

Fighting Back

Cornice's countersuit seeks a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware that Seagate's patents are invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed by Cornice's products, the company says in a statement. In addition, Cornice alleges that Seagate's lawsuit is baseless and constitutes unfair competition and tortious interference, entitling Cornice to damages from Seagate, it says.

The statement did not specify the amount that Cornice is seeking from Seagate in damages.

Cornice and Seagate could not immediately be reached for comment.

In addition to the allegations of patent infringement brought by Seagate, Cornice faces similar charges from another hard-drive maker, Western Digital.

In June, Western Digital filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Cornice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Orange County, California. In that suit, Western Digital alleged that Cornice has infringed on seven of its patents related to hard-drive technology and is seeking monetary damages and a ruling that will prevent Cornice from infringing its patents.

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