Software Makers Defend Their Turf

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-07-17

Software Makers Defend Their Turf

July seems to be a popular month for software developers to go to court to protect their intellectual property.

Tuesday saw lawsuits from Cable & Wireless USA Inc. in the content delivery network software space and Informatica Corp. in the business analytics software space. These suits followed one involving Compuware Corp. and IBM that came to light Monday in the mainframe systems software space.

Cable & Wireless, of Vienna Va., filed a suit in Boston Tuesday against Akamai Technologies Inc. Cable & Wireless claimed that its Cambridge, Mass.-based competitor infringes on a newly issued patent that the company received on July 2.

The lawsuit covers Exodus, a Cable & Wireless Service formed by the integration of Digital Island and Exodus, and encompasses various content deliver algorithms that ensure that only the freshest content is served to Web sites, Cable & Wireless officials said. Cable & Wireless allege that Akamais products, including EdgeSuite, directly infringe on the companys patent.

"We have attempted to get Akamai to acknowledge the broad scope of our intellectual property rights. Instead, theyve responded with multiple lawsuits against us," said Chris Albinson, chief strategy officer for Exodus.

Akamai President Paul Sagan said in a statement that he was confident that Akamai does not infringe the new patent. Akamai is "aware of the details of the new patent issued to Cable & Wireless, and it is just another version of the same so-called fingerprinting technology that a jury previously determined Akamai does not infringe," Sagan said, in the statement.

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Last December, a jury found that the Exodus "footprint" content delivery service actually infringes Akamais patent rights, Akamai officials noted. And a U.S. District Court judge granted an injunction against Cable and Wireless in Akamais favor late last month.

"The injunction ruling is a legal technicality about a legacy part of the CDN that was abandoned some time ago and our customer will not be impacted," Albinson said, in a statement.

Meanwhile, last month Akamai engaged in a flurry of legal and public relations maneuvers with Speedera Networks Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., over Speederas alleged theft of Akamai trade secrets. They also wrangled over claims of false advertising, trade libel and intentional interference leveled against Akamai in a lawsuit by Speedera.

Also Tuesday, Informatica, a Redwood City, Calif., business analytics software provider, announced that it has filed a patent infringement suit in U.S. District Court in Northern California against Acta Technology Inc. claiming that certain Acta products infringe on three of Informaticas patents. In the suit, Informatica is seeking an injunction against future sales of the allegedly infringing Acta products, as well as damages for past sales of the infringing products. Informatica claims Actas alleged infringement of the Informatica patents was willful and deliberate, entitling Informatica to an award of treble damages, costs and reasonable attorneys fees.

Also, this week, word that Compuware, of Farmington Hills, Mich., had filed a second lawsuit against IBM came to light. The new lawsuit follows an initial suit filed in March alleging IBM copied portions of Compuware source code, including bugs, and documentation.

The more recent suit was filed in U.S. District Court on July 3, though news of the suit did not come to light until this week. This suit alleges that Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and its business partner Mainline Information Systems Inc., of Tallahassee, Fla., falsely represented IBMs software as less expensive and better functioning than Compuwares. The suit claims IBM is using false and misleading information in its competition with Compuware in the marketplace.

Compuware is asking the court to stop IBM from using the allegedly false and misleading information in advertising and promoting its software. The company also is seeking treble damages and attorneys fees.

Dan Johnson, an attorney for Compuware, said the second suit "is just a companion" to the first to get injunctive relief for IBMs statements.

"We added Mainline as a party," Johnson said, "based on a big Webcast conference call they had where they made several false and misleading statements," regarding Compuwares technology.

Compuware Chairman and CEO Peter Karmanos said during a conference call regarding Compuwares first fiscal quarter earnings that "Compuware is suing IBM for misappropriating our source code," referring to the first suit. He said Compuware is getting its source code evidence together and lining up witnesses for deposition in preparation for a trial.

"Its something we had to do," Kar-manos said.

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