Former employee: Seagate took Convolve technology

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2009 10:17 AM

A former Seagate Technology employee says the company improperly used technology gleaned from Convolve Inc. and tried to cover up evidence of it after Convolve sued, according to a filing made in the case.

The two companies have sparred in court for nearly a decade over allegations that Seagate and Compaq Computer stole Convolve technology that improves the performance and cuts the noise level of hard drives.

In a court filing dated Nov. 30 and reported Tuesday by The New York Times, Convolve asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to include a sworn affidavit from Paul Galloway, a former Seagate engineer.

The filing says Galloway provided eyewitness evidence that Seagate, the world's largest hard drive maker, spread information about Convolve technology among its engineers in violation of a nondisclosure agreement between the companies. According to court filings, the companies had met in 1998 to discuss technology developed by Convolve and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under an agreement that Seagate would not use what it learned in its own products.

According to the filing, Galloway claims Seagate's management never told him about the agreement, and that technologies Seagate claims to have developed on its own were "influenced by Convolve's technology."

The filing says Galloway also provides evidence that Seagate destroyed computer code for a disk drive it had to produce as evidence in the case, failed to hold on to Galloway's personal computer with files related to his work and either withheld or destroyed records of meetings between engineers working on the technology.

The filing says Galloway worked at Seagate until July 2009 and contacted Convolve's lawyers after his employment there ended.

Seagate, based in Scotts Valley, Calif., did not immediately return calls requesting comment on the filing Tuesday.

The company's shares slipped 7 cents to $17.90 in premarket trading.