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Riverbed strikes back

 Riverbed is going on the offensive in its patent lawsuit infringement battle against Quantum by filing its own claim against the backup vendor.

In response to Quantum’s patent infringement suit filed five weeks ago, Riverbed this week filed a counter-claim in Federal District Court in San Francisco charging that Quantum’s data deduplication products infringe a Riverbed patent. Quantum’s original lawsuit accused Riverbed of infringing a Quantum patent in its wide area file services devices.

A Riverbed press release quotes general counsel Brett Nissenberg saying Riverbed carefully evaluated Quantum’s DXi series of deduplication products after the original lawsuit, and found that Quantum infringed on Riverbed’s patents.

Basically, Riverbed is saying “Not only didn’t we infringe on your patent, but you infringed on ours.” Now Riverbed is seeking what Nissenberg calls “substantial compensation” from Quantum, along with an injunction preventing it from using the technology.

If this all sounds familiar, it is. Substitute Quantum for Network Appliance, Riverbed for Sun and deduplication for ZFS and you have a similar situation going on with the storage system vendors. The difference here is, Riverbed and Quantum aren’t exchanging verbal smacks via executive blogs.

Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly did address the issue during the company’s earnings call last month, calling the lawsuit “meritless.”

“We know our products,” Kennelly said. “We have read their patents and we do not infringe their patents and we tried to tell them that for eight months.”

Quantum had a similar response to Riverbed’s legal action. “We believe that Riverbed’s counter-claim is entirely without merit and will obviously defend ourselves vigorously,” a Quantum spokesman said in an e-mail to SearchStorage.

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