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Judge Orders HP to Stop Using EMC Initials

The nastiness continues in the storage battle between Hewlett-Packard Co. and EMC Corp. (www.emc.com).

EMC issued a news release today to trumpet a first-round courtroom victory against HP in a trademark infringement case.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro issued a preliminary injunction yesterday ordering HP to stop referring to its new line of storage products by the abbreviated name of "E MC256." Specifically, the judge prohibited HP from using the letters "MC" in its product name.

"HP’s new enterprise storage products – which include the letters ‘E’ and ‘MC’ – are likely to confuse prospective buyers as to the products’ source," Tauro wrote.

The conflict stems from an incident in May. Four months after announcing a 3-year extension of an agreement to resell EMC storage equipment, HP on May 5 introduced new storage products developed by Hitachi Ltd. that it would sell against the EMC products. HP calls the Hitachi OEM’d systems, "HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256."

EMC filed suit for copyright infringement May 25 in federal district court in Boston, near EMC headquarters in Hopkinton, Mass. EMC contends the HP name resembles its registered trademarks of "EMC" and "EMC2."

"EMC has invested 20 years in developing the goodwill associated with its [trade]marks, while HP has invested only a few weeks," the judge wrote. "HP chose to adopt a name that uses the letters ‘E’ and ‘MC,’ and apparently made that decision while party to a 4-year-old agreement to distribute EMC’s product under EMC’s name."

EMC vice president and general counsel Paul Dacier applauded the decision. "HP’s attempt to confuse the market and illegally use EMC’s famous name to market an inferior product is an insult to customers and a clear violation of our registered trademark," he said in a statement.

HP lawyers were reviewing the judge’s decision, and the company had no immediate comment on the injunction, an HP spokeswoman said. -- Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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