SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Network Appliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) today announced that in the wake of prolonged and aggressive claims by Sun Microsystems Inc. against the company, Network Appliance has filed suit seeking a declaration that it is not infringing three of Suns U.S. patents and that those patents are invalid. The suit also seeks a ruling that Sun infringes seven Network Appliance U.S. patents pertaining to data processing systems and related software. This suit is particularly targeted at Suns ZFS technology.
Sun's aggressive demand that we license some of their IP caused us to examine carefully whether we were infringing their IP rights and whether they might be infringing ours. NetApp now believes that Suns ZFS technology infringes a number of NetApp patents. NetApp believes Sun unfairly distributes ZFS technology to third parties to induce the adoption and distribution of the infringing technology in their products without informing them of applicable NetApp patents.
NetApp made major efforts to resolve these issues amicably. Unfortunately, Sun shifted from an aggressive position to not being responsive, leaving important issues unresolved. To remove any doubts, NetApp has turned to the courts.
For infringement of the NetApp patents, the company is seeking compensatory damages and a permanent injunction against Sun to prevent further distribution of the NetApp patented technology in current or future versions of Suns data processing systems and related software, including their ZFS technology.
We firmly believe that everyone is best served by fair and responsible treatment of intellectual property, stated Dave Hitz, founder and executive vice president, Network Appliance, and named inventor on five of the Network Appliance patents at issue. What concerns us is that through its distribution of ZFS under its own terms and conditions, Sun is unfairly encouraging others to adopt and distribute the infringing technology without informing them of our applicable patents.