McData accuses Brocade of infringing on its patent No. 6,233,236, which covers aspects of measuring traffic within a switch, the company said. The technology relates to eliminating bottlenecks that can slow data transfer within the switch.
"We strongly believe that Brocade has been selling...products that infringe our patent," said McData General Counsel Thomas. O. McGimpsey.
A Brocade representative declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Brocade has just begun selling its Silkworm 12000 switch, its highest-end product yet, with 128 ports to connect storage devices, servers and other networking components. The 12000 is the first product from Brocade that squarely targets McData's high-end products.
These special-purpose "storage area networks" (SANs) communicate using the Fibre Channel standard, but companies have begun a shift to adopt a newer, slower standard called that's based on the more widely used Internet Protocol (IP).
McData holds 25 storage-networking patents with 15 more pending, the company said.