EMC, Hitachi settle patent fight

Storage rivals EMC and Hitachi today announced that they have agreed to settle a year-old patent-infringement legal fight dealing with data replication and migration. Under the deal, Hitachi will make payments to EMC, and both companies agreed to a five-year cross-licensing of the patents involved in the litigation so either company can use the technology.

In a statement released by the companies, Hitachi specifically said it would make "balancing payments to EMC." But the remaining terms of the cross-license agreement are confidential. An EMC spokesman said the company is "extremely pleased" with the agreement.

EMC filed the original lawsuit last April in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, alleging that Hitachi was using technology related to EMC's Symmetrix Remote Data Facility, TimeFinder remote storage and data migration applications, mainframe storage patents and business-continuity software.

EMC also cited Hitachi Data Systems' Open Remote Copy and Open Asynchronous Remote Copy and ShadowImage as the offending technologies.

A week after the suit was filed, Hitachi fired back with its own lawsuit, seeking damages against EMC for what it called infringement on eight of its patents.

In May, EMC filed a second suit involving the same patents with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), claiming that Hitachi and its subsidiary, HDS, were infringing on six of its patents.

The two companies said today that they have also agreed to a framework for exchanging application programming interfaces (API) in order to more easily manage each other's storage products.

Joe Tucci, EMC president and CEO, said he was pleased to resolve the issue "in a way that upholds our principles and encourages future innovation. The customers of both EMC and Hitachi, who rely on our respective information storage technologies, are the real winners," he said in a statement.

Isao Ono, director, president and CEO of information and telecommunications systems at Hitachi, said the agreements show "how concern for customers' needs and a desire to explore business relationships that provide benefits for each company are the principal factors in each company's decision-making."

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