Overland Decision Gets New Review in U.S. Trade Agency

Overland Storage Inc. persuaded a U.S. trade agency to reconsider patent-infringement claims the company made against BDT-Solutions GmbH over systems that archive electronic records.

The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington said it would review a noninfringement finding from March concerning an Overland patent for a structure called a mail slot that provides user access to media elements. The agency, which has the power to block imports of products that encroach on U.S. patents, is scheduled to make a final decision in June.

The dispute centers on closely held BDT’s FlexStor II product line of automated tape libraries, which it makes overseas and then lets companies sell under their own brand names. Automated libraries back up or archive data on tape in a central location and then retrieve the information using networked computers and often, robotic arms.

The two Overland patents in the case, covering technology it uses for its Neo systems for small- and medium-sized companies, are for the apparatus and methods of storing or retrieving data. The Neo series accounted for about 31 percent of the company’s $59.6 million in fiscal 2012 revenue, the company said in its annual report.

Reconsider Findings

Trade Commission Judge Charles Bullock in July said neither of the Overland patents was infringed. The agency in December ordered him to reconsider his findings on the apparatus patent, and make additional findings on the validity of the data-retrieval patent. It is also reviewing his validity ruling.

Bullock last month said some aspects of the retrieval patent were invalid. Other aspects weren’t under review. Overland, based in San Diego, has said the noninfringement finding regarding the patent on the way of retrieving data came under rules that are unique to ITC law, so the company can still pursue its case on that patent in district court.

Overland has sued BDT in federal court in San Diego. The case was put on hold pending the outcome of the trade dispute.

Overland had named International Business Machines Corp. and Dell Inc. in the original complaint. It later settled with those companies. Overland also has filed patent-infringement lawsuits against other competitors, including Quantum Corp. and Qualstar Corp.

The case is In the Matter of Automated Media Library Devices, 337-746, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

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