back to article Seagate and Western Digital sued by patent ambulance-chaser

Specialist patent enforcement firm Rembrandt IP is suing both Seagate and Western Digital for patent infringement. As reported by Ars Technica, the two are identified in a lawsuit filed in a Wisconsin court and accused of infringing US patent numbers 5,995,342 and 6,195,232 which refer to toroidal thin film heads with low …


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  1. Blofeld's Cat

    For goodness sake

    Is it not time this nonsense was stopped.

    It would be doubly pleasing to see Rembrandt IP have their case thrown out on the basis of "prior art".

    1. John G Imrie

      Or concidering the length of the potential

      list of infringer's.

      Get the patent revoked for obviousness.

  2. Vitani


    What's to stop Samsung & WD from just *not* paying? Even if they got a judgement against them surely their lawyers could wrap the "payment" up in so much red tape that it never actually arrives?

    Oh? That's $100m we owe you? Didn't you get the cheque? I posted it last week!

  3. micheal

    Doesnt this make you wonder

    Why the guy they bought it from didnt bother "garnering" the tens of millions?

    Maybe cos he knew it was a hopeless pursuit, he's made a few quid now and is off to sunny climes

    1. Dagg Silver badge

      Costs a lot to pursue

      As a patented inventor I can tell you that it costs a sh*t load to pursue and the large companies can just keep throwing lawyers at you. They have a lot more money than you have!

      You may have done all the work and they just steal it. They use the exact same practices as big tobacco to wear you down. They delay everything with legal double speak and appeal just for the shear hell of it.

      And, No I'm not an ambulance chaser, I am a legitimate inventor that follows the rules. But some times to get any return you end up selling your IP rather than have it stolen!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Why the big delay?

    Some of the disks mentioned are obsolete already. Anyone filing a patent claim so late should just have it unceremoniously chucked out. Even if it is a valid claim, the drive manufacturers just might have gone with a different technology rather than pay for the rights to use it, hence it is totally unfair to wait until they have used it millions of times over then come crawling out of the woodwork looking for a handout.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      unceremoniously chucked out ?

      Certainly not. Said patent should be simply revoked, and the complainants flogged publicly for having waited years and millions of products sold before waking up to the fact that they had a patent.

      This is such an obvious case of trolling that I think a charge of contempt of court should be envisioned.

  5. Philip Lewis

    I am not wondering

    Let me guess:

    1: The original patent owner is an inventive engineer who strikes upon a brilliant idea and patents it accordingly.

    2: Some time later he discovers that many/all hard disk manufacturers have appropriated his patented invention for their devices.

    3: Being a struggling inventor with shallow pockets, he goes looking for an IP company with deep pockets to take on the disk drive manufacturers so that he may be duely compensated for his inventiveness.

    4: An IP company is found, it sees the merit in the patent, determines that there is no prior art and that the invention is in fact non-obvious and was a piece of seminal genious at the time of patenting.

    5: Struggling inventor sells his patent for enough money to retire and live happily ever after with a rider that if the subsequent court case is won, extra payments will accrue.

    6: IP company sues and the legal process starts.

    7: Readers at The Register spew ignorant vitriol, demonstarting uniformly ill founded opinion and feeling duely smug at their own brilliance.

    What all you morons on here need to realise is that while the patent system is not perfect, it is a mechanism with a long history of protecting invention from appropriation and affording inventors the possibility of compensation for their inventiveness. This is not a software patent, so the ground is likely quite firm and there is a long history of patent litigation in engineering.

    An enourmous number of patents are stolen because big companies have evil officers who feel they are above patent law, and figure they can get away with it because they have legal departments and budgets large enough to make a suit prohibitively costly. The court record is littered with the remains of this hubris. Sometimes someone at a company independently invents the same thing, not realising that it has been previously patented. Patent is designed to protect the original patent holder from this eventuality.

    Not all IP companies are vicious trolls, they are merely middle men with money and the ability and willingness to fight the (un)intentional wrong doers for financial gain. Live with it and recognise it for exactly what it is. to. wit. Someone stepping up to the plate to fulfill a market need. End of story.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm sick of this everything should be free, no-one looses out if a patent (or copyright) is taken attitude.

  6. g e


    Seems bloody obvious to me as toroidal transformers are more efficient than their non-toroidal counterparts therefore you'd expect toroidal recording heads to be, also. They're almost the same thing.

    Except, presumably, in the united states of americaland. Fail.

    Maybe someone should sue the USPTO for employing people underqualified to accept these technical patents. That would be a good one.

  7. Lyle Dietz

    How unique!

    I thought the patent system was only there to protect software and business methods.

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