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By | Chris Mellor 8th January 2010 11:19

WD accused of encryption IP filch

Enova Technology slaps Initio too

Western Digital is being sued by Taiwan's Enova Technology for alleged unauthorised use of its encryption technology in My Book and My Passport external drive products.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware, also cites Initio Technology which makes an encryption/decryption controller device.

It refers to two US patents; 7,136,995, issued in 2006, and 7,386,734, filed in 2008. The '995 patent describes a cryptographic device and, with the '734 patent, refers to real time data encryption/decryption by devices such as disk drives without materially compromising their operational speed.

Enova says it developed the first real time encryption/decryption ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit). It meant disk drive products could have hardware encryption/decryption added without slowing down the effective speed of disk writes and reads.

Enova was founded in 2000 by Shuning Wan, the inventor of the '995 patent and one of the four inventors of the '734 patent. You can read the patents here (pdf).

Enova's filing asserts that "the defendants have ridden on the coattails of Enova's significant investments in R&D and market development by infringing Enova's patents, all to Enova's damage". Initio's INIC-1607E controller is specifically mentioned in the suit as are various WD My Book and My Passport products, some of which are said to use the Initio controller.

The suit seeks a declaration of Enova's patent ownership, an injunction to stop WD and Initio infringing the patents, damages not less than reasonable royalties over the period of infringement, and Enova's and its lawyers' costs. Enova is seeking a trial by Jury.

WD has not issued any comment on this legal action and wasn't immediately able to comment. ®

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