In a buccaneering pre-emptive strike against all of the major players in the low-end Winchester disk drive field, Rodime Plc, Glenrothes, has claimed the entire concept of the 3.5 Winchester disk drive as its own, and was last month granted US Patent Number 4,638,383 on its invention. It has now moved to protect its property, bringing a patent infringement suit against the current 3.5 Winchester market leader MiniScribe Inc, Longmont, Colorado, and intends to take a 7% patent fee on every 3.5 Winchester sold, a potentially enormous sum in the context that the 3.5 market is expected to reach $1,000m within a year or two. It will be by no means easy to defend such a broadly-drawn patent, but the suit against MiniScribe promises some interesting revelations on the way, because during the discovery period of the suit, it will be required to reveal its customers and their plans – and those customers are believed to include IBM, which is also making its own 3.5 Winchesters in Japan. Others in the Rodime firing line will include Seagate Technology, which has just announced, and LaPine Technologies and Quantum Corp.
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