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Iomega gets order against Nomai

Iomega obtains a temporary restraining order against Nomai that prohibits manufacture and marketing of cartridges claiming to be Zip-compatible.

The battle between Iomega and French would-be competitor Nomai over Nomai's Zip-compatible data storage cartridges has been simmering for months, but push finally came to shove at Comdex Fall '97.

The two companies this year have been waging trademark and patent war in American and several European courts over Nomai's cheaper XHD cartridges, which are designed to work with Iomega's 100MB drive. (See related story)

On October 15, Nomai filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, requesting a judgment of non-infringement of certain Iomega patents, trademarks, and patents. Nomai simultaneously announced U.S. distribution of the products, but Iomega required evidence of distribution before it could countersue and obtain an injunction against Nomai. Iomega found that proof at Comdex, where Nomai was demonstrating the cartridge.

The result is a temporary restraining order filed late last week against Nomai and its U.S. subsidiary Nomus. The TRO prevents Nomai from making or selling in the U.S. XHD cartridges advertised as compatible with the Zip product.

"We're going to continue to protect our own intellectual property vigorously, as long as it takes," said Iomega spokesperson Susan Stillings. "The TROs show how quickly we are willing to act. Nomai showed evaluation copies at Comdex and we acted immediately."

Iomega claims that Nomai's discs are not compatible with Iomega drives, citing two independent studies it commissioned last month that showed greater than 50 percent rejection rates in notebook Zip drives, nearly 25 percent incompatibility with internal Zip drives, and serious head damage in 40 percent of the drives tested with Nomai's discs. Iomega would not identify the labs that performed the studies.

Nomai was not immediately available for comment.

On the European front, Iomega obtained a TRO against Nomai sales and distribution within England, and another injunction against a German firm that distributes Nomai's XHD product.