Unaxis, Intevac trade barbs over sputtering patent suit

July 21, 2006 – Earlier this month, Intevac Inc., Santa Clara, CA, a developer of magnetic media sputtering equipment for hard disk drives, filed a patent infringement lawsuit in US District Court in central California against Unaxis USA and Unaxis Balzers, alleging infringement of technology relating to its magnetic media sputtering equipment. Now, Unaxis is firing back, calling the move a futile attempt to block sales of its new product in the US.

“We understand this complaint as the attempt to stop Unaxis from introducing its leading RACETRACK technology into the US market,” stated Peter Tinner, head of Unaxis’ data storage business unit. “Our company has developed all kinds of circular, linear and other coating systems in its more than 50 years history of vacuum coating… We do not need Intevac’s technology.”

In its lawsuit announced on July 7, Intevac claimed Unaxis infringes a US patent relating to Intevac’s 200 Lean magnetic media sputtering equipment. The complaint seeks monetary damages and an injunction barring Unaxis from making, using, importing, or selling the allegedly infringing product in the US.

In response, Stefan Seifried, VP of Unaxis’ hard disk unit, says the company found a solution in work it had done nearly a decade ago. “When looking into promising concepts for the next generation Hard Disk system, our developers found an idea with 12 year old in-house roots,” he said, explaining that the company’s new Racetrack system combines sputtering technology with a new drive concept, to combine perpendicular magnetic recording with a fast, reliable handling system.


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