Giving a strategic boost to its intellectual property portfolio, flash array vendor Pure Storage has acquired more than 100 storage and related technology patents from IBM. The two companies have also signed a patent cross-license agreement.
Pure Storage was listed recently on CNBC's Disruptor 50 list, and it's this disruption that the company is looking to protect, as the move towards all-flash systems continues, and legacy storage vendors try to catch up. After netting a $225 million Series F funding round last April for a $3 billion valuation, CEO Scott Dietzen is looking to keep Pure pure, and while confident in its own granted and pending patents, the agreement with IBM will help protect it against hostile lawsuits by competitors.
Patent litigation is the wrong way to compete
Dietzen said Pure Storage pledges to not "make first use of these patents, but rather use this IP only to defend against aggression from those competitors who choose litigation over marketplace competition. Our goal is to keep the battle out of the courtroom and in customer data centers, where it belongs."
Upon receiving the $225 million round Dietzen noted that the company was well positioned for long-term independence, as adoption of all-flash arrays over legacy mechanical drives continues to accelerate.
Joe FitzGerald, a top lawyer at Pure Storage, said, “This transaction significantly increases the number of Pure Storage’s patents, creating a more robust and strategic patent portfolio that will allow our customers to benefit even more from our focus on advancing storage innovation.”
IBM has led the annual list of U.S. patent recipients for 21 consecutive years. “This agreement with Pure Storage demonstrates the value of IBM’s patented inventions and our dedication to encouraging innovation by licensing access to our extensive patent portfolio," said William LaFontaine, general manager of intellectual property at IBM. "IBM’s extensive R&D investment and the industry’s largest storage array patent portfolio are key drivers behind our flash storage leadership."