Hadoop startup Zettaset sues Intel over trade secrets [updated]

Zettaset, a Mountain View, Calif.-based startup, has sued Intel, claiming the microprocessor giant and recent Hadoop-industry entrant has misappropriated Zettaset’s trade secrets.

In a press release, Zettaset claims that “among other things … Intel unlawfully extracted trade secrets from Zettaset’s product and technology to such a level that the Intel Manager for Apache Hadoop Software now mirrors the features and functionality of Zettaset’s Orchestrator software.” We are still trying to track down the civil complaint, which was filed on Thursday in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Santa Clara. (We have since obtained a copy of Zettaset’s complaint, and a new story based on it is available here.)

Zettaset’s Orchestrator product is meant to simplify the deployment and management of Hadoop clusters, and Zettaset puts a special emphasis on the security features of the product. The company changed its name to Zettaset in 2011; it was previously called GOTO Metrics. It has raised $13 million in venture capital.

Intel has been around for decades, although it made its foray into the Hadoop market, for most of the world, in early 2013 with the Intel Distribution and Intel Manager for Apache Hadoop software. It had been pitching its own Hadoop distribution in China for some time prior to that.

A spokesperson emailed a statement from Zettaset President and CEO Jim Vogt regarding some specifics of the lawsuit:

“Since early 2012, Zettaset and Intel have been involved in a deep business relationship regarding Zettaset’s Hadoop management layer – our enterprise software platform, Orchestrator. These interactions were conducted in good faith with the goal of a potential partnership and commercial relationship.

“During this time, Intel had access to Zettaset’s product and technology, including proprietary and highly confidential information. In February of this year, at Strata conference, Intel announced a Hadoop management framework directly competitive to Zettaset’s Orchestrator product. Clearly, our trade secrets and technology were compromised and inappropriately secured under our NDA agreement, and on Thursday, October 10, 2013, we filed a formal complaint against Intel Corporation for Breach of Contract and Misappropriation of Trade Secrets.

“Zettaset does not like courts, or lawyers, or litigation, but we have an obligation to our shareholders and investors to protect our intellectual property, which is a key value to our business.”

This post was updated at 9:36 a.m. to include a statement from Zettaset President and CEO Jim Vogt.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user tlegend.