Whistleblower backs Convolve
A 10 year old suit pitting Convolve in a David versus Goliath
battle against Seagate Technology has taken an unexpected turn. A whistle-blower from Seagate has claimed that the outfit
nicked Convolve technology and later destroyed evidence in the case.
Former Seagate employee named Paul Galloway has
provided what is described as "an eyewitness account" accusing Seagate
of taking hard-drive technology from Convolve and incorporating it into its own
products. Galloway said that Seagate tampered with evidence tied to
Convolve's nearly 10-year-old patent infringement case against the company.
Convolve's lawyers are trying to reopen the voluminous
court record to include testimony from Galloway. It is not clear if the court
will allow it. Convolve and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
sued Seagate and Compaq Computer over technology that reduced the noise and vibration
generated by hard-disk drives. They wanted $800 million.
Boffins at MIT claimed to have 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. In the nine years since then, Convolve and Seagate have
exchanged hundreds of documents under court-ordered discovery and filed myriad
legal motions against each other.
Galloway was an engineer at Seagate until July 2009, and
that he had contacted Convolve's lawyers after he left Seagate. According to Galloway Seagate's engineers began to zero
in on improving the company's sound reduction features only after the company
had seen Convolve's technology. Engineers did not know that Seagate had a
nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, in place with Convolve that should have
protected the technology.
Seagate had intentionally destroyed some of the software
blueprints linked to products using the sound reduction technology, Galloway
said.It had also removed the the computer on which his own
notes about the technology were stored.