Could NetApp suit throw a wrench in Sun-IBM talks?

NetApp's patent suit against Sun Microsystems could pose a challenging hurdle for Sun in its reported merger talks with IBM, reports American Lawyer's AM site.

NetApp's IP patent infringement lawsuit against rival Sun Microsystems may throw a wrench in Sun's reported merger talks with IBM , according to a report on American Lawyer's AM site.

Two years ago, NetApp filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Sun, alleging its rival violated seven of its patents with its ZFS file system--a key element to its Solaris operating system. NetApp demanded Sun remove its ZFS file system from the open-source community and storage products, and limit its use to computing devices.

Sun, in response, filed a countersuit , alleging NetApp violated a dozen of its patents.

For Sun, which reportedly has IBM combing through its contracts as part of its due diligence in the merger discussions , the NetApp lawsuit could pose a potential problem.

The ZFS file system is a key part of Solaris, and Solaris' role in the open-source community puts it in an enviable position in relation to IBM's efforts. IBM, as a result, may not want to lose that connection to the open-source community should NetApp prevail in its Sun lawsuit.

But NetApp also has a relationship it may want to retain with IBM.

Back in 2005, the companies formed a manufacturing partnership, in which NetApp's network-attached storage and storage area network products were repackaged under IBM's brand.

That IBM-NetApp relationship is still intact, which is sold by Big Blue under its IBM System Storage N Series, an IBM spokesman said.

NetApp did not return e-mails or phone calls seeking comment. IBM declined to comment on rumors or speculation regarding merger talks involving Sun.


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Uber's tumultuous ups and downs in 2014 (photos)
The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)
Google Lunar XPrize: Testing Astrobotic's rover on the rocks (pictures)