Legal battle Pivots on vendor names

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Legal battle Pivots on vendor names

via Storage Soup by Dave Raffo on 8/21/08

Even smaller private storage companies are keeping their lawyers busy these days.

Pivot3's legal motion filed with the U.S. Trademark and Patent office against PivotStor this week is the second time in less than two weeks that small storage companies have become embroiled in lawsuits. Backup vendor Asigra sued its rival ROBObak Aug. 11, proving not only large public companies like Sun, NetApp, Quantum, and Riverbed are running up legal bills in public spats.

The latest storage lawsuit is over the companies' names. Pivot3, which started in 2004, says PivotStor, which came around in 2007, is confusing the market by using Pivot in its name and wants it to find another. PivotStor management apparently disagrees — hence the legal motion. The vendors are not direct competitors. Pivot3 sells clusered iSCSI storage systems and Pivotstor sells email appliances and tape libraries. However, Pivot3 says people have trouble keeping the two straight.

While the fundamental issue between the Pivot3 and Asigra suits are different - Asigra is suing Robobak for libel over claims made in press releases and advertisements – there are two similarities. First, the company getting sued is the lesser know of the two, which means Robobak and PivotStor could benefit from the free publicity.

The second similarity is both defendants rely on Steve Friedberg of MMI Communications for public relations. While Friedberg is probably spending too much time talking to lawyers these days to agree, a cynic would credit him for pulling off two PR coups.

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