HP Enterprise sues China’s Inspur for patent infringement, claims it’s continuing US operations despite sanctions

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), one of the world’s largest makers of servers, has initiated a legal battle against Inspur Group, China’s largest server maker, and its affiliates, alleging server patent infringements. HPE accuses Inspur of engaging in deceptive practices and renaming its subsidiaries in the U.S. to continue its business with American companies despite being included into the Entity List. 

HPE: Inspur infringes our patents

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and discovered by The Register, accuses Inspur of using, selling, and distributing products that unlawfully incorporate HPE’s patented technologies, seeking damages and an injunction to halt further infringements. Specifically, HPE accuses Inspur of infringing five U.S. patents No. 8,218,5667,634,6719,229,7378,335,891, and 8,108,508. These patents cover various aspects of server and network operations, including remote management, power consumption, and data storage array configuration, among other things. 

These patents are part of a portfolio that supports HPE’s products ranging from general-purpose servers to sophisticated AI and storage solutions, according to the company. Since the patents cover various aspects of server operation, essentially all of Inspur’s products can infringe them. 

The complaint also demonstrates HPE’s attempts to resolve the issue out of court, but Inspur allegedly has ignored HPE’s requests for meetings and communications. According to HPE, this lack of response from Inspur left no option but to seek judicial intervention. In its legal filing, HPE seeks an injunction to stop Inspur’s alleged infringements and compensatory damages for the profits lost and royalties due. 

Despite being on the Entity List, Inspur continues operations in the U.S.

Legal battles between companies are nothing new. But HPE indicates that in addition to illegally using its intellectual property, Inspur continues its operations in the U.S. despite being added to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List — a list that identifies parties whose activities are believed to be contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests. 

The complaint claims that Inspur that inspur continues its operations in the United States under Aivres Systems and Betapex. Inspur allegedly removed its branding from products sold in the U.S. and continues to sell them. For example, Inspur’s IR5280M6 server is Aivres’s 5280M6 machine, it has the same specification and design, according to HPE’s complaint. Meanwhile, Inspur has also worked as a contract maker of servers, according to The Register. Yet, if a U.S. entity plans to work with Inspur (or any other party from the Entity List), it has to get a special license from the U.S. government.

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