Netapp/Sun ZFS lawsuit
The news about the removal of ZFS from Sourceforge resulted in a reinvigorated interest in the NetApp/Sun lawsuit. A multitude of web pages reported about this step. There is a comment from an authoritative source about the “Why?”. I will not add something to that.
But i want to say something to the ever ocurring references to this lawsuit: Well … i have to admit, that this lawsuit wasn’t in my focus over the last few months, as i thought “Let the lawyers do their job, this can take a while”. But with all this comments a short article looking into the developments since the beginning of this year looked as a necessary choice.
There is one point that i find really interesting: Everyone is talking about the point that Sun may loose ZFS, but out of a strange reason most people aren’t talking about the point that NetApp has a similar problem by the countersuing, as they can lose core patents behind WAFL. And they have already loosed some patents or at least important claims.
A source of information is the ZFS Sun/NetApp lawsuit page at Sun. Let’s just take the published PTO documents and not the comments by Sun.
To dodge the countersuing, NetApp tried to invalidate some patent (5761662 (“Personalized information retrieval using user-defined profil”) for example) but had no success. The PTO send an “Notice of Intent to Issue” after the reexamination. The same is valid for 6591303 (“Method and apparatus for parallel trunking of interfaces to increase transfer bandwith”).
On the other side:
- Many claims of NetApps patent 5819292 ("Method for maintaining consistent states of a file system and for creating user-accessible read-only copies of a file system") has been rejected by the PTO in a Final Office Action.
- The PTO issued an non-final office action for Patent 7174352 ("File system image transfer") deleting all claims that have been disputed by Sun.
- In December 2008 all claims of patent 7313720 ("Technique for increasing the number of persistent consistency point images") has been rejected by the PTO as stated in this non-final office action
</noautobr>At the moment i don’t think that Sun will get problems in the NetApp/Sun lawsuit. I see more problems for NetApp when core patents are invalidated. However: At court and at sea you are in god’s hand.