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EMC and Hitachi Bury Hatchet

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA) have settled their patent infringement lawsuits against each other, signed a five-year agreement to cross-license certain technologies, and promised to make their storage systems more interoperable (see EMC and Hitachi Settle Lawsuits).

"This is how these things usually end," says Christine Wallis, senior VP of global strategy and planning at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), the enterprise storage subsidiary of Hitachi. "We put all the patents on the table, reach an agreement, and then everyone goes home and competes in the market."

Under terms of the settlement, Hitachi will make "balancing payments" to EMC. Hitachi officials say this is to make the exchange equitable, based on the value of the patents. The size of these payments, however, is being kept secret.

All of the patents that were the subject of the two companies' lawsuits are part of the cross-licensing agreement; aside from that detail, none of the terms of the agreement are being disclosed. EMC and Hitachi also have agreed to exchange storage-related application programming interfaces (APIs), following a steady stream of similar agreements among the major storage systems vendors (see HP Makes API Triple Play, EMC, HP Catch Each Other's Codes, IBM, Hitachi SAN Compatible, and HP, Hitachi Trade APIs).

EMC originally filed patent-infringement suits against Hitachi and HDS on April 11, 2002, alleging that their products infringed six EMC patents. Less than a week later, Hitachi countersued EMC, asserting that certain of EMC's products infringed eight patents owned by Hitachi and its subsidiaries (see EMC Nails HDS With Lawsuit, Hitachi Scoffs at EMC Suit, and Hitachi Countersues EMC).

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