Earlier this year Seagate's chief executive William Watkins claimed that the hard drive maker owned numerous patents covering solid state drives, and that he would look towards lawsuits should their rival SSD manufacturers fail to sign licensing agreements. Well, Seagate is now going through with its promise, with STEC being the first manufacturer of SSDs to be targeted by the company.

Seagate accuses STEC of infringing four of its patents that detail how drives connect to host systems to enable features like error correction. Though the world's largest HDD maker claims it has tried to open discussions with SSD manufacturers about licensing its patents, STEC counters that it was never contacted about the lawsuit until proceedings began.

A Seagate victory in the suit (or most likely a settlement) could result in the company winning cross-licensing agreements and collecting royalties not only from STEC, but also from other SSD makers. Unfortunately for consumers, it could also mean higher prices for SSDs and other flash memory products.