Judge makes injunction against HP permanent in EMC case

A federal judge has slapped a permanent injunction on Hewlett-Packard Co. for infringing on EMC Corp.

A federal judge has slapped a permanent injunction on Hewlett-Packard Co. for infringing on EMC Corp.'s trademarks.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro made final his July preliminary ruling that ordered HP to stop using the letters "MC" in any of its enterprise storage products. EMC had filed suit in May after HP introduced a new storage product called HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256, commonly referred to as E MC256.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., changed the name of the disk array to HP SureStore E disk Array XP256 shortly after Tauro issued the preliminary injunction. The most recent ruling means that HP is required to reimburse EMC for court costs incurred in the suit.

EMC could have dropped the case before Tauro issued his final ruling, but the two sides were unable to come to a settlement.

"The two camps certainly discussed the possibility," said Mark Fredrickson, an EMC spokesman. "But we felt the judgment being a permanent record of law was a more preferable outcome. We felt a clear-cut violation of our trademark name."

Fredrickson would not comment on how much HP would have to repay EMC for court costs.

HP was unavailable for comment.

Parting of the ways

Prior to the lawsuit, HP had decided to sever its reseller partnership with EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass. In January, the two companies negotiated a three-year extension, under which HP would resell EMC's high-end Symmetrix enterprise storage device.

But the two companies severed ties between their storage divisions when EMC declined to change the reseller partnership to an original equipment manufacturer deal. The final break came when HP signed an OEM agreement with Hitachi Data Systems Inc. to sell a product that competes with EMC's Symmetrix box.

"During negotiations, they had asked for an OEM agreement so they could 'badge' our product themselves. We didn't feel that was in our best interests," Fredrickson said.

Fredrickson said the two companies continue to have a relationship, but it is concentrated on HP's server division.