Cornice has settled one part of a patent infringement dispute with Seagate over one-inch hard-disk drives by agreeing to stop manufacturing the drives in question.

The agreement will see Cornice stop producing 1GB, 1.5GB and 2GB versions of its one-inch hard-disk drive by the end of May, the two companies said in a statement. It brings to an end action being pursued by Seagate against Cornice at the US International Trade Commission (ITC), which had been due to begin hearing the case this week.

The settlement doesn't affect two other lawsuits - a suit and countersuit - filed in Delaware.

The spat began in June 2004 when Seagate filed a lawsuit that alleged Cornice's drives violated six of its patents. The lawsuit seeks to prevent Cornice from selling the drives in the US and asks for monetary damages. Seagate followed this lawsuit with the now-settled ITC complaint in July. Cornice fired back in August with a countersuit against Seagate.

A trial in Delaware remains scheduled for June 2006.

The resolution of the ITC lawsuit might be seen as something of a hollow victory for Seagate, which had asked the ITC to ban the import into the US of the drives and devices that use them. Drives from both companies and their competitors are found in an increasing number of digital music players. However, the market is moving fast. Cornice had already begun to push drives with more capacity.

Cornice's current highest capacity model is a 3GB drive and the company is planning to launch a new product in the coming weeks, it said. Seagate's highest capacity one-inch drive is currently a 6GB model.