New evidence has emerged after a former employee of Seagate Technology turned whistle-blower, claiming that the hard-drive maker did steal information from Convolve Technology and that when Seagate was challenged over the theft it deliberately destroyed the evidence.
Paul A. Galloway, a former senior executive at Seagate, has accused Seagate of taking hard-drive technology from Convolve and incorporating it into its own products, according to documents filed recently with a federal court in Manhattan in the USA.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the court filings include claims by Mr Galloway that Seagate, the world’s largest producer of computer hard drives, tampered with evidence tied to Convolve’s nearly 10-year-old patent infringement case against the company.
The allegations are detailed in an affidavit filed by one of Convolve’s lawyers as part of an effort to reopen the voluminous court record to include testimony from Mr. Galloway.
The patent infringement case between Convolve and Seagate dates to 2000, when Convolve and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued Seagate and Compaq Computer, seeking $800 million over technology that reduced the noise and vibration generated by hard-disk drives, the devices often used to store information in personal computers and computer servers.
Researchers at MIT had developed techniques for reducing the noise of a hard drive without significantly impairing its performance. Convolve was formed to help market and sell this and other related technology.
According to court and regulatory filings, representatives from Convolve and Seagate met in 1998 and 1999 to discuss some of Convolve’s work, subject to an agreement that Seagate would not make improper use of what it learned in those discussions.
In 2000, Convolve sued Seagate and one of its customers, Compaq, claiming that the ‘sound barrier’ technology that Seagate introduced in 2000 relied on Convolve’s sound reduction innovations.