back to article NetApp ready to rumble in Sun IP case

NetApp co-founder Dave Hitz has challenged Sun to come to court now and get the ZFS-WAFL IP case sorted as fast as possible. NetApp is suing Sun for giving away what it claims is its intellectual property in the open source Zettabyte File System (ZFS). It contends that Sun includes IP from NetApp's Write Anywhere File Layout ( …


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  1. Brian

    Other way around...

    If I was NetApp, I'd be keen to see this come to court before all my patents were invalidated due to prior art.

    If I was Sun, I'd want to string things out for a while, to give the Patent Office time to invalidate the remaining patents, thus making the lawsuit void.

    Classic FUD, presenting his position backwards.

  2. Jeff Green

    Yet another trouble with patents

    When (in the US at least I assume also here) the courts appear to assume the patents are valid (ask RIM who were forced to pay out royalties on patents that turned out to be invalid because the judge refused to wait) Net App want to get to court fast so they can win some money before the court realises the whole suit is specious.

  3. James

    Rushing to judgement

    I agree with Brian: it makes a lot more sense for the one with the better case to wait for the patent office to toss out any duff patents, rather than try to convince a judge to pre-empt their decision. I've always been impressed by Netapp's products, though never close to having the budget to buy one - but ultimately, Sun have made vast contributions to the computing community as a whole over the last two decades, while Netapp have milked a monopoly on a clever filesystem to make vast contributions to their own pockets.

    Victory for Sun means we all get the benefits of a state-of-the-art filesystem as open source; victory for Netapp probably means we still get those benefits, but Sun will have to hand over a pile of cash first, just to get permission to keep using software Sun developed independently. It's like the SCO shakedown, only without even the pretence that Sun actually ever took anything from Netapp!

    (As you can probably tell, I'm no fan of the concept of software patents.)

  4. Simon Breden

    And if you were NetApp...

    ...and apparently feeling confident in your legal victory, why would you feel the need to register the legal case in a Texas court well-known to be sympathetic to patent trolls, despite both companies having their headquarters in Silicon Valley, California?

    Mine's the one with a RAID-Z2 array and a hot spare in the pocket.

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  6. zvonr

    Broken Patent System

    Every day a patent is invalidated is a good day, and Hitz needs to hurry because soon he's case will contain only invalid patents...

    When you are in the software and hardware business, suing a company like Sun ... who are loaded with patents is not the smartest thing to do...

    NetApp users, I recomend you take a look at ZFS... and see why NetApp wants it shut down...

  7. David Halko
    Dead Vulture

    Brian has a clue, the author does not.

    Yep... if the patent office has time to invalidate all the patents, then SUN does not have to sue anyone and the NetApp claim will be withdrawn.

    Government usually messes up, in regards to dealing with the private sector.

    Seems like a great strategy - let the U.S. Government do their job, that they were deficient in doing during the time of the patent filing. Why pay lawyers to do the job of the government?

  8. Nick Kew


    Groklaw has a different take on this. She points to the blackberry case, where RIM were taken by IP pirates and forced to pay a huge ransom before the patents were invalidated.

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