Hitachi hits back at EMC with patent countersuit

A week after being accused of infringing on six patents owned by EMC Corp., Hitachi Ltd. has filed its own lawsuit in a U.S. District Court seeking damages against EMC for the infringement of eight patents, the company announced today.

The complaint, filed in the Western District of Oklahoma, contends that certain EMC data storage systems, including products in both EMC's Symmetrix and Clariion product lines, infringe on patents owned by Tokyo-based Hitachi and Hitachi Computer Products America Inc., Hitachi said.

Hitachi's suit also includes a request for an injunction to keep Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC from selling the products in question until the legal matter is resolved, Hitachi said.

Representatives from Hitachi couldn't immediately be reached for comment. But EMC spokesman Mike O'Malley said, "It's common for defendants to gin up counterclaims after being sued. EMC will respond to Hitachi's allegations once it has had the opportunity to review Hitachi's lawsuit."

Last Thursday, EMC filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Worcester, Mass., seeking damages for copyright infringement and requesting in a separate complaint that the U.S. International Trade Commission block Hitachi from importing the infringing products into the U.S. (see story).

EMC claims that its patents covering the company's Symmetrix Remote Data Facility business continuity software and its TimeFinder remote storage software have been violated through Hitachi's use of the technology in its Hitachi Open Remote Copy and Hitachi Open Asynchronous Remote Copy products.

Yesterday, Hitachi issued a statement denying EMC's claims of copyright infringement, accusing EMC of turning to legal action because of its inability to compete on the open market (see story).

For its part, EMC claims it was forced to file its initial lawsuit after four years of negotiation with Hitachi failed to settle the matter.

Computerworld's Lucas Mearian contributed to this report.

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