Seagate Accused of Stealing HDD Tech
The New York Times reports that a former employee of Seagate Technology is accusing the company of stealing hard drive technology from Convolve, and incorporating the stolen tech into its own products. The court documents (pdf), recently filed with a federal court in Manhattan, detail the former employee's "eyewitness account," and even claims that Seagate intentionally destroyed evidence related to its 10-year lawsuit with Convolve.
The original lawsuit stems back to 2000, with Convolve and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suing Seagate and Compaq Computer. The former parties accused the latter of patent infringement in regards to technology that reduces noise and vibration of hard drives. Convolve and MIT sought $800 million in damages, however the legal battle still continues to this day.
According to court and regulatory filings, representatives from Seagate and Convolve met during 1998 and 1999 to discuss what Convolve had discovered. Seagate, in turn, signed an NDA, promising that the knowledge gained would not be used in future products. But in 2000, Convolve found itself suing Seagate over the "sound barrier" technology implemented in Seagate drives. Convolve said that the technology relied on its "reduction innovations" as revealed in the NDA meetings.
Now the former Seagate employee, a Seagate engineer up until July 2009, has stepped forward with claims of foul play. He contacted Convolve's lawyers shortly after leaving. “I was deceived by my management’s failure to tell me that the Convolve technology discussed within Seagate was NDA protected,” Mr. Galloway said in a section of the affidavit reproduced by Ms. Steinberg. "If I had known about Convolve’s NDA with Seagate, I would not have worked on competing technology."
Game over for Seagate, game over.