Seagate claims SSD patent

March 25, 2008 // 10:54 a.m.

Tags: #intel #patent #samsung #seagate #ssd

Rumours that solid-state drives are failing all over the place may have turned out to be unfounded, but Seagate still isn't convinced the technology is the right choice for today.

Despite the fact that Seagate is launching just as many SSD models as the next big harddrive manufacturer, CEO Bill Watkins seems to think that the devices are just too expensive for the data they hold. In an interview with CNN Watkins admitted that “realistically, I just don't see the flash notebook selling.

Just in case the consumers see things differently, the well-heeled executive has another trick up his Saville Row sleeve though: he's fairly certain that Seagate is going to be able to bury rival SSD manufacturers in enough legal wrangling that his company will emerge on-top should the market take off. It seems that Watkins is convinced that pretty much every SSD maker out there – he drops names like Samsung and Intel with ease – might just owe his company big-time bucks due to certain patents Seagate holds on the interfacing of storage devices with host computers.

It's not uncommon for large companies to have vast swathes of patents – in the US, at least – that are almost completely without merit. Due to the way the patent process works in the US, it's possible to get almost any patent granted – no matter how obvious your breakthrough. What matters is whether the claims will hold up in court. While it's useful for Seagate to worry its enemies by making reference to an army of lawyers sat on cast-iron patents, it remains to be seen whether the company would risk having their patents invalidated should they bring them before a court.

One thing is for sure: Intel and Samsung are unlikely to take this lying down. The SSD market – whether it's as big as Samsung hope or as small as Seagate thinks – looks set to be the next battleground for the storage giants.

Do you agree with Watkins' take on the SSD market, or do you think he's completely missed the point? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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