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US may ban import of HDDs

US may ban import of HDDs

No more HDDs coming into the US? You'd better hope the price of SSDs decreases soon then!

Finding new hard drives in the US could get quite difficult in the near future. The International Trade Commission is planning to investigate five companies for manufacturing the drives using patented products. The companies being investigated are Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard.

The complaint was filed by California residents Steven and Mary Reiber under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which bans importing of goods that infringe on patents held by US citizens or companies.

If the investigation conclusively finds that the companies are in violation of the patent, the ITC could issue a cease-and-desist on the importation of the drives. The companies involved either manufacture the drives in question or sell products that contain them.

All could not be lost though. Even if the ITC rules against the five companies, an appeal in the US Court of Appeals or a veto by President Bush could overturn the decision. Qualcomm found itself in the same situation earlier this year when Broadcom accused the company of infringing on its patents for managing power consumption. The ITC issued a ban on importing mobile devices that used Qualcomm's chips but this was later overturned by the US Court of Appeals.

A reform of the US patent system has been called for by many over the last few years and the idea is currently making its way around the White House. A new bill was passed by the House of Representatives last month to update the law in a number of areas.

Which direction do you think this one will head in? Will the ITC ban the said hard drives or will they let it slip through the cracks due to the overwhelming need and use of them? Discuss your thoughts over in the forums.

38 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
MilkMan5 12th October 2007, 14:42 Quote
I will be very surprised if the ban happens.
Or is this October Fools day.
naokaji 12th October 2007, 14:47 Quote
they prolly just gonna fine them if found guilty... after all.. the us government needs to make up for the cost of the war in iraq....
yakyb 12th October 2007, 15:12 Quote
this will only mean higher prices for a short amount of time i dont see any real issue here

what patent did they infringe upon?
wolff000 12th October 2007, 15:19 Quote
I sure the hell hope it doesn't happen. My company can't afford to pay any more for parts than we already do.
Bluephoenix 12th October 2007, 15:27 Quote
considering how much the gov. depends on hard drives as much as the rest of us, I don't see this happening. maybe a fine and a turnover of any bans as being "against the interests of national security"
Hells_Bliss 12th October 2007, 15:36 Quote
If there's a shortfall of HDD's in America, the government will just seize them under the Patriot act :p
MilkMan5 12th October 2007, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
... what patent did they infringe upon?

I was actually thinking about this as well !!!
Could it be something to do with its platter technology.

Also, does this only apply to 3.5inc HDD or 2.5” HDD’s as well!

Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard.

Dell and HP – I did not know they manufactured HDD’s! :? :?

Then how will this affect Sony PSP and MS Xbox.
DarkLord7854 12th October 2007, 15:38 Quote
Guess it's time to stock up on hard drives :p
wbdog206 12th October 2007, 15:39 Quote
geez some people just have to much time to sit and look for
things to whine about .the people that started this lawsuit must
have something to gain.
Burnout21 12th October 2007, 15:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb


what patent did they infringe upon?

god im glad i am in the uk! sounds like a load of BS!
kosch 12th October 2007, 15:58 Quote
I don't really see this one sticking somehow, imagine the chaos it would cause.
Paradigm Shifter 12th October 2007, 16:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkMan5
Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard.

Dell and HP – I did not know they manufactured HDD’s! :? :?
I've got an old Hewlett-Packard 15K RPM SCSI drive, but I don't know more than that. Not heard of Dell making HDDs themselves, but chances are they rebadge some of the ones they use, and that's why they're getting sued. Why not Samsung as well, though? I understand why not Maxtor, as they've been part of Seagate for a while now...
Sebbo 12th October 2007, 17:18 Quote
"The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Steven F. Reiber and Mary L. Reiber, of Lincoln, Calif., and specifically concerns dissipative ceramic bonding tips used in making the hard drives."

patents here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6354479.html
and here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6935548.html

sounds like it applies to more than just harddrives
Vash-HT 12th October 2007, 17:55 Quote
Those 2 patents don't refer to technology that is actually in a HDD, just tools for manufacturing, unless I'm reading them wrong.
Smilodon 12th October 2007, 20:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
I've got an old Hewlett-Packard 15K RPM SCSI drive, but I don't know more than that. Not heard of Dell making HDDs themselves, but chances are they rebadge some of the ones they use, and that's why they're getting sued. Why not Samsung as well, though? I understand why not Maxtor, as they've been part of Seagate for a while now...

All the HP (well, actually Compaq) drives i have seen so far have been made by someone else. I have a drive here from Compaq that says "manufactured by IBM". I also have a drive from about the same time that is from IBM, that says "manufactured for IBM by Seagate"...

Now days IBM drives are the same as Hitachi IIRC. And Maxtor is a part of Seagate.

I guess that leaves us with Seagate, Hitachi and Western Digital. (unsure what Toshiba actually is, though..)
DXR_13KE 12th October 2007, 22:08 Quote
wont stick.....
Breach 13th October 2007, 00:46 Quote
Meh, the companies already know and Im sure at this very moment redesigning or replacing the tech in question to something else to skate around it.

But, I would seriously doubt they would institute a ban on hard drive imports that would otherwise cripple major and minor PC manufacturers in the US.
steveo_mcg 13th October 2007, 01:37 Quote
Just imagine the sudden increase in data off shoring, I doubt india would be able to keep up, google alone must need loads of disk a month.
HourBeforeDawn 13th October 2007, 08:20 Quote
lol well this is certainly interesting so what worse case situation is I have to buy by hdds over seas and have them shipped to the US? if they cant be sold state side anymore, hmm well I doubt this will happen isnt there some kind of grandfather clause or something because they have been operating for so long in this country already and have so much in twined with them?
rhuitron 13th October 2007, 11:31 Quote
I am Imagining it now.
In the white house,
Bush, "Heh, Heh." "Whats a hard drive?" "A compooter do hickey?" "I thought it was a a boner or a very Hard-Drive!" :( Got to work on that one.


Sooooooooo, Or fate lies, ONCE AGAIN, in the hands of a complete moron! AHH ****! :( Or a multi million dollar settlement. :?

Why the hell doesn't some body rid us of this IQ -189 dumb **** and let a real leader take over. I hate you Texas and all your people for having made him and voted for him.

This only means that those two people will be sought after by, m.............a mysterious assassin. Because they are the sole reason HDD's will take a huge Price Sike.
Kipman725 13th October 2007, 16:38 Quote
bahaha ha ha my stocking up on tapes has come to fruition!
99$ each plz :)
The_Beast 13th October 2007, 17:15 Quote
I really hope this doesn't happen
ralph.pickering 13th October 2007, 20:42 Quote
And we all thought it would be a nuclear war that sent America back to the dark ages... nope just a simple patent infringement case. Fool ass Amreican legal system.
JaredC01 13th October 2007, 21:12 Quote
Anyone notice that Samsung and Hitachi aren't mentioned? I personally feel Sammy and Hitachi drives are the best out there. No Seagate or WD? Okay, I'll stick with a 1TB Hitachi that performs better than most every 7200RPM drive out there :)
mikeuk2004 14th October 2007, 01:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph.pickering
And we all thought it would be a nuclear war that sent America back to the dark ages... nope just a simple patent infringement case. Fool ass Amreican legal system.

lmao
Rebourne 14th October 2007, 22:39 Quote
This will only hurt consumers.
mikeuk2004 15th October 2007, 10:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebourne
This will only hurt consumers.

I think business will suffer more considering that every business depends on hard drives.
Penrhos 22nd September 2008, 14:25 Quote
Let them ban them.....

Then watch the price of SSD plumet as everyone and there dog jumps on the bandwaggon.

Platters are soo last year.
Bluephoenix 22nd September 2008, 14:36 Quote
I hope they don't...

every datacenter in the country is reliant on HDDs for the massive amounts of storage we use everyday.
steveo_mcg 22nd September 2008, 14:52 Quote
Well nearly a year on has this happened yet?
UrbanMarine 22nd September 2008, 15:01 Quote
Doubt they'd stop imports of HDDs. Most likely this will go to court and they'll be a settlement.
Bauul 22nd September 2008, 16:46 Quote
Quite a thread revival, though I imagine nothing came of it. It's a stupid patent infringment case anyway, it's like someone patenting "using a hammer to make something", and then demanding everything in the world is prevented from being sold.
ev1lm1nd666 6th April 2010, 14:27 Quote
The lawsuit states that the above companies either make or sell the hard drives in their pc's, so while Seagate, WD etc are the main culprits, HP and DELL are putting the Hdd's into their pc's and selling them in the USA so are guilty by association. Could this mean that if the ban goes ahead, prices will fall in the UK and Europe as there will be a surplus of Hdd's for a while?
Ahadihunter1 31st January 2014, 20:01 Quote
Seriously someone should kick someone out of the white house, or a devil shall "infringe" on a god forsaken wood pecker for the "sake of national security"
bawjaws 31st January 2014, 21:17 Quote
Seriously, necroing a four-year old thread? C'mon, dude... How do people even stumble across these ancient threads in order to necro them in the first place?
Sloth 1st February 2014, 00:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahadihunter1
Seriously someone should kick someone out of the white house, or a devil shall "infringe" on a god forsaken wood pecker for the "sake of national security"
If it makes you feel any better, this happened in 2007 so there's already quite a few different faces now. :p
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