back to article NetApp shakes fist at sprat supplier over ZFS

NetApp has threatened Ethernet and ZFS storage supplier Coraid with implied legal action unless it stops selling its EtherDrive Z-series NAS. Coraid has buckled under the threat and temporarily withdrawn the product. The back story here is that NetApp sued Sun in 2007 for infringing its patents with the ZFS file system product …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Netapp has no IP to defend here!

    Netapp had all of the major patents in this matter overturned by the USPO

    what IP is left to litigate with?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Netapp has no IP to defend here!

      Yes, and you are the Judge in which US court? Oh, you're not! Are you even legally trained? Colour me surprised that you're not! If NetApp didn't have a leg to stand on then their case would already have been thrown out seeing as it kicked off long before Larry bought Sun. The fact that it has gone to court and is progressing without dismissal implies that at least the presiding judge thinks NetApp has a case. Until that case is cleared, NetApp are quite within their rights to pursue others thought to be using infringing software.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    You're having a larf, no ?

    "It [NetApp] can expected to be told to wait until the Oracle-NetApp dispute is resolved and stop using little guys as pawns in a much bigger game".

    In some other universe maybe.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Really now

    "NetApp is likely to face some criticism for attacking a small supplier like Coraid. It might say that, faced with someone using its stolen property supplied by a third party, Oracle-Sun, with whom it is in a legal dispute, what is it expected to do?"

    Stolen property? Really? Come on now.. Even ignoring the fact that Sun has already shown prior art while legal procedures being what they are, are still going on - since when is IP infringement theft?

    What exactly has been found missing from NetApp's HQ in regards to this alleged theft?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Really now

      Yeah, there's just that tinsy-weensy little thing called a court case to wade through first. Until then, NetApp can hammer any commercial user of ZFS.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    "faced with someone using its stolen property supplied by a third party"

    This is not copyright infrigement (where the notion of "stealing" is already bent out of shape), it's about patents. Patent infringement has nothing to do with "stolen property". It, however, has to do with ideas being "near" each other (with an arbitrary definition of distance), where one of those ideas has been granted a state-enforced area of avoidance by clueless USPTO employees.

    Guys could just release the implementation on sourceforge and leave it at that.

    1. Lou Gosselin

      Stolen property

      This mistake is all too common among the laymen, but it should be a prerequisite question for all reg reporters.

  5. Neoc


    Let me get this straight: NetApp *accuses* Sun/Oracle (rightly or wrongly) of IP violations with the ZFS. So far, so hoopy.

    The courts have not yet ruled on whether such a violation occurred.

    Nevertheless, NetApp are threatening a company using the ZFS product *in good faith*.

    Someone explain to me how NetApp can legally threaten this company when it has yet to be proven that ZFS infringes IP?

    Bloody hell - This is SCO all over again.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: WTF?

      "....NetApp are threatening a company using the ZFS product *in good faith*...." In stupidity, more like! Do you really want to pretend that Coraid just happened to miss all the news on the NetApp-Sun case? Continuing to develop and sell a product in light of the ongoing case was stupid at the least, or more likely calculated. Coraid gambled on the case being thrown out, they got it wrong, and now they will have to cough up or cease selling until the case is decided one way or the other. Coraid aren't some freetard group, they are making a commercial product for profit, and in a market where it directly competes with NetApp products. Whilst Larry has an army of lawyers, I doubt Coraid does, in which case their decision to go with ZFS just looks like a poor decision, fullstop.

      Worst case for Coraid (and other small companies selling products that use ZFS) would be if NetApp agrees a low-or-no license fee for Oracle with a cross-patent agreement, which Larry might accept to save on the cost of litigation. That would leave NetApp clear to set a killer license price for the small companies like Coraid. NetApp could then legally drive their smaller competitiors out of business as long as they used ZFS.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle wont tollerate this shit...

    ... and you can bet Larry wont be satisfied until he's fucked NetApp sideways-from-behind, leaving them with strangle-marks on their neck and a bloody arse, thus putting them back in their place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      for once I like Larry

      "bet Larry wont be satisfied until he's fucked NetApp " - too true!!

      on this one and only occasion, i am fully supportive of Larry being an arse bandit and going to bandit-ise the back sides of Netapp, who have shown such degrees of fuckwittery in their approach to Coraid they deserve to have their rectums reset by Larry's massive pole like ego - oh and his mountains of lawyers!!

    2. gnufreex

      I am not so sure about it

      Larry want ZFS all to himself, he is closing OpenSolaris anyway. So I bet he likes the fact that Net App sues other users of ZFS. And in the end, he will settle with them so Oracle can be only source for ZFS storage. Jerks get along with each other. Sad that nice open source technology is held back by idiots and crappy licenses.

      It would be interesting to see if Net App dares to say something about BTRFS and get blasted by OIN.

      1. Kebabbert


        "And in the end, he will settle with them so Oracle can be only source for ZFS storage. "

        But FreeBSD is using ZFS. So how can it be closed? It is opened and the source code is out on the internet.

        1. gnufreex


          It can't be literally closed, but it can be made a liability, except when it is distributed by Oracle.

          Having the code under CDDL does not mean that someone can't sue you if you sell SAN or NAS with ZFS. It only means Oracle can't sue you, because they are ones who have given you the code. But NetApp sure looks litigious. If Larry wants other vendors to use ZFS, he will strike against NetApp, forcing them to cut the crap. If Larry does not want anyone else to use ZFS in their offerings, he will be buddy buddy with NetApp, pay them some money to to leave Oracle alone and tell them to sue other storage vendors who think of using ZFS. It could go either way.

          This apply to both FreeNAS/FreeBSD and OpenSolaris storage. And any other OS which might port ZFS. Unfortunately, that's how stinkin' patents work.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Oracle wont tollerate this shit...

      Unlike you, Larry spends more time thinking about profit than anal sex. The original case only went to court due to Sun's pigheadedness, when McNeedy and Ponytail decided they didn't want to settle with NetApp. Larry is a lot smarter, the news is he is already looking at an out-of-court settlement with an exchange of patent licences. That will allow Oracle to go on making ZFS-based storage devices, maybe with a token license payment to NetApp, and Larry can then let NetApp go out and exterminate all Oracle's smaller competitors (whom weren't paying Larry a license fee for ZFS, so why should he give two hoots about them?).

      Welcome to Larry's World, where profit is King!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Bad Blood?

    It appears more of a bitter divorce in the case of CORAID.

    CORAID's current CEO Kevin Brown was a high level VP at NETAPP. There are plenty of other sprat vendors out there that have been selling and shipping ZFS far before CORAID. There is the Pogolinux Z something and the Aberdeen AberSAN Z-Series at some dirt cheap price.

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