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EMC Corporation v. Pure Storage, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 7, 2016

EMC CORPORATION, Plaintiff and Defendant-in-Counterclaim,
v.
PURE STORAGE, INC., Defendant and Plaintiff-in-Counterclaim.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON MOTION OF PURE STORAGE INC. FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON AFFIRMATIVE CLAIMS

          Judith Gail Dein, United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the court on the motion of Pure Storage, Inc. for partial summary judgment on its counterclaims for commercial disparagement, Lanham Act violations, and defamation. (Docket No. 325). By this motion, Pure Storage is seeking a ruling by this court that Lie # 3 in EMC's “Top Ten Lies” document is false and material and that EMC is judicially estopped from taking a contrary position. Pure Storage argues that EMC is barred by the doctrine of judicial estoppel from asserting in the present litigation that its claim that Pure Storage's deduplication is post-processed is true, because EMC allegedly took the opposite position in litigation between the parties in Delaware. EMC denies that it has taken inconsistent positions in the two cases.[1]

         This court finds that Pure Storage has failed to establish that the positions taken by EMC are directly inconsistent. Therefore, this court will not apply the doctrine of judicial estoppel and the motion for partial summary judgment is DENIED.

         II. STATEMENT OF FACTS[2]

         Unless otherwise indicated, the facts relevant to the instant motion are not in dispute, and are as follows:

         The Alleged “Lie”

         EMC created a document entitled “Pure's Top Ten Lies.” The purpose and significance of this document is in dispute, but that issue does not need to be resolved here. At issue in the present motion is Lie #3, which reads in its entirety as follows:

         PURE'S DEDUPLICATION IS INLINE

FALSE. Pure's deduplication is post processed. Pure claims 5 techniques for data reduction out of which only two - byte size pattern elimination and lightweight compression - are inline. Everything else (including the real deduplication) is post processed. Since this overloads Pure's single active controller, Pure cannot dedupe inline under high host load and dumps raw host data to SSDs. Pure must then use post-process dedupe to reduce this raw host data.

         Deduplication is the process of removing redundancies from data. (SF ¶ 7). Data reduction techniques, such as deduplication and compression, are important because they improve performance and cost-effectiveness. (SF ¶ 4). The parties agree that, using techniques such as deduplication and compression “inline” can be advantageous because they reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored in long term memory. (SF ¶ 10).[3] Thus, as a general statement, inline deduplication may be considered more efficient, and preferable, to post-processed deduplication.

         Pure Storage bases its counterclaims for commercial disparagement, Lanham Act violations and defamation on the Top Ten Lies document, including Lie #3 quoted above, asserting that the statements in the document were false and/or were made without adequate factual basis. By its present motion, Pure Storage is seeking a ruling that EMC cannot claim that the statement “Pure's deduplication is inline” is false.

         The Delaware Litigation

         The Delaware litigation was not a factor in the instant Massachusetts litigation, and did not become significant to this court until the instant summary judgment pleadings. The facts relating to the Delaware litigation have been provided to this court in a piecemeal fashion. Therefore, this court has only snippets of the evidence on which both parties relied in Delaware. Similarly, the parties have not yet fully defined the issues they intend to present to the jury in the instant case. Discovery was far reaching and covered a number of avenues which will need to be ...


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