EMC sues Pure Storage as bad blood boils

Lawsuit legal gavel

EMC is suing storage rival Pure Storage, alleging that the flash storage competitor hired EMC employees in order to gain access to confidential EMC intellectual property and customer information.

According to the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, EMC charged that:

“dozens of former EMC employees have joined Pure Storage and stolen tens of thousands of pages of proprietary, highly confidential and competitively sensitive EMC materials – including highly specific information about EMC’s directly competing flash storage solution, EMC’s strategies to implement and sell that solution, and targeted, detailed information about EMC’s customers and their buying patterns.”

Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC also noted that several Pure Storage board members were formerly at EMC or its VMware subsidiary and thus have “intimate and confidential knowledge of EMC’s business and EMC’s best-in-class sales and engineering organizations.”

In particular it cited Pure Storage director Frank Slootman, formerly president of Data Domain and when EMC acquired that company became president of EMC’s Backup Recovery Systems Division. EMC alleged that Slootman helped Pure Storage “in the identification and/or recruitment of highly skilled EMC employees.”

EMC had already sued several former employees who had joined its smaller rival. In a phone interview, Pure Storage CEO Scott Dietzen denied any illegal or unethical behavior by the company or its recruits.

Dietzen said the company hires the best candidates it can, but is “extremely careful when it hires people, especially from a competitor, to protect intellectual property. We are an IP company as well and any leak or misuse of IP is completely unacceptable.”

Dietzen said he suspects EMC’s latest litigation is timed to coincide with the expected announcement next week of new EMC flash memory systems based on its $430 million acquisition  last year of XtremIO.

Asked for comment, an EMC spokesman said: “Pure Storage has waged a deliberate, unlawful and sustained campaign to steal EMC’s confidential and proprietary information. We are simply taking the necessary legal action to protect EMC’s rights.”

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