Rodime Plc scored a major victory last week in its opportunistic efforts to enforce two patents taken out on the broad concept and design details of the 3.5 Winchester disk drive, when MiniScribe Corp broke ranks with the other manufacturers and agreed to licence the Rodime technology. Full details of the out-of-court settlement were revealed, but the decision by MiniScribe strengthens the Scottish manufacturer’s hand in its suit against Conner Peripherals Inc, and in the countersuit brought against Rodime by IBM seeking to have the patents declared invalid. The settlement involves MiniScribe, Longmont, Colorado, in paying Rodime licence fees, and exchanging an unspecified number of patents, but there is no word on whether MiniScribe will be paying the royalties originally sought by Rodime. Electronic News notes that IBM’s suit was brought in response to a letter it – along with 19 other companies – received from Rodime, with copies of the patent and an invitation to take a licence to the technology. MiniScribe had hitherto contended either that the patents were invalid, or that it had not infringed them. Its decision to settle the suit could have far-reaching implications for Rodime’s future prosperity, because the 3.5 Winchester is expected to become the dominant form factor for small systems market within a year or so.