Commvault Initiates Patent Infringement Litigation Against Cohesity and Rubrik

21 April 2020
Justin Warren

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Commvault has filed paperwork with the Delaware District Court today alleging that competitors Cohesity and Rubrik have each infringed on six of Commvault's patents.

The patents relate to “cloud archive integration, virtual machine protection, and policy-based security restrictions” among other things. Commvault claims its competitors “wrongfully short-circuited the research-and-development process, minimized the investment necessary to have competitive products, and forced Commvault to compete against its own inventions.”

“Commvault is not a litigious company but given this clear patent infringement by Cohesity and Rubrik, we have a responsibility to file these lawsuits – we must stand up for our innovation and intellectual property,” Commvault Vice President and General Counsel Warren Mondschein said in a statement.

Marcus Muller, Commvault Vice President and Chief IP Counsel
Marcus Muller, Commvault Vice President and Chief IP Counsel

“Fundamentally this is about fairness and responsibility,” said Marcus Muller, Commvault Vice President and Chief IP Counsel. “It's about ensuring a fair market for Commvault and about us acting responsibly to our employees and to our shareholders.”

“We've done the work,” Muller said, “What we're doing here is insisting that these two companies do theirs and they compete on their own merits. We're not going to compete against our own innovations in the market here.”

According to Muller, Commvault hasn't previously discussed this matter with either Cohesity or Rubrik, so the infringement filing will be the first time they hear about it.

While I'm not particularly familiar with the intricacies of US patent litigation processes, Muller told me that Commvault isn't formally serving its competitors with process here. “We're actually reaching out to them to them to encourage them to have a dialog with us,” he said.

I know when I want to have a conversation with someone, the first thing I do is file paperwork with a court of law.

Rubrik raised $261 million in a series E just over a year ago while Cohesity just closed on a $250 million series E earlier this month. Neither company is likely to have difficulty paying lawyers to argue with each other, at least for a while. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, companies still need to backup and restore their data, so their customers will still be buying.

Without looking in detail at the specifics of both the patents and implementation details of how Rubrik and Cohesity have built their products it's difficult to evaluate the merits of the claim. It looks more to me like the special American brand of capitalism via courtroom shenanigans.

It's an odd choice from Commvault, though, as I see it as a validation of the seriousness of the threat posed by Rubrik and Cohesity, and I doubt I'll be alone in that view. It's difficult to see what will ultimately be achieved here other than Commvault possibly getting hold of some startup funding through a settlement where no wrongdoing is admitted.

Still, I'm not a lawyer, and the American legal system is full of exciting pitfalls and dark alleys, so who knows?

If nothing else, watching a lawyers-at-10-paces duel slowly play out over several months will keep us all entertained while we're isolated, I suppose.

Did you have something better to do?


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