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EMC Plays Patent Hardball

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Claiming patent infringement, EMC has petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission to block data storage rival Hitachi Data Systems and its parent from importing three products.

Additionally, EMC has sued Hitachi in U.S. District Court, in Worcester, Mass., for unspecified damages.

Based in Hopkinton, Mass., EMC alleges six intellectual property violations. Four relate to its Symmetrix Remote Data Facility and TimeFinder offerings. Two concern data migration and storage of mainframe data.

In EMC's crosshairs are Hitachi's HORC, HOARC and ShadowImage lines. EMC claims it was seeking a remedy with its competitor for the last four years.

"It is a matter of responsibility to our shareholders, customers, employees and business partners, to protect their investments in EMC's most valuable technology assets," said Paul Dacier, EMC general counsel.

A Hitachi spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. HDS is based in Santa Clara, Calif., while Hitachi Ltd. has headquarters in Tokyo.

Earlier this week, the ITC reportedly began a probe of Hitachi Ltd. regarding alleged patent infringement of dynamic random access memory chips.

That action was filed by chip maker Mosel and also seeks import restrictions.

Shares of EMC rose 0.17, or nearly 2 percent, to 9.91 in morning trading.

The issue is well off its 52-week high of 45.96 however and has been hurt by sluggish orders for big-ticket equipment and competition. Several analysts have recently lowered their financial targets for the company.

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