CA Sues New Relic for Patent Infringement

CA Technologies has filed a lawsuit against New Relic for patent infringement relating to its application performance management (APM) technology.

CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) announced it has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against New Relic in the Eastern District Court of New York for allegedly infringing on three CA patents.

CA is seeking undisclosed damages for lost profits and legal costs and is asking the court for an injunction against New Relic prohibiting the infringement of CA Technologies patents and the misuse of the company's intellectual property. CA filed its lawsuit Nov. 5.

The complaint alleges that New Relic, founded by Lew Cirne, a former CA Technologies employee, infringes three important CA Technologies Application Performance Management (APM) patents.

In 2006, CA Technologies acquired Wily Technology, an APM technology company founded and operated by Cirne, for $375 million. As part of the Wily acquisition, CA Technologies took ownership of key APM patents, including the three described in the complaint. Cirne is listed as a co-inventor in two of the three patents. Following the Wily acquisition, he served as a CA Technologies employee until 2007. Cirne then founded New Relic in 2008.

“CA Technologies will not allow its patents to be infringed, especially by those who have already profited by selling to us the very patents in question,” said Richard Donoghue, CA’s chief counsel for litigation, in a statement. “We will vigorously take all steps necessary to ensure that our intellectual property is protected.”

According to its complaint, CA is requesting a jury trial. Among other things, CA is seeking, “A permanent injunction restraining Defendant and its officers, employees, agents, parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and anyone else in active concert or participation with them, from taking any actions that would directly or indirectly infringe any of the claims of each and every Patent-In-Suit,” the complaint reads.

In a statement in response to the CA suit, Cirne said: "We have not seen any details of the lawsuit and cannot comment at this time. I will say that I'm confident New Relic has conducted business with the utmost integrity. We will continue to do so as we build a software solution that is fast becoming a standard in the industry for its Web application performance analytics that deliver immediate value at a fraction of the price charged by traditional vendors."

Jean-Pierre Garbani, an analyst with Forrester Research, gets to the heart of APM and why the core technology behind a vendor’s solution is worth fighting for.

“APM in its most restrictive sense is about monitoring Java EE [Enterprise Edition] applications by instrumenting the bytecode,” Garbani said. “The secret sauce is really how you do this, how you collect and then analyze the data collected. This is critical because it adds overhead to the application itself and makes the APM product suitable [or not] to run in production. This APM monitoring is also a central platform that allows you to monitor the in and out traffic of the application—again this would translate into overhead. The way the data is collected by the use of JMX [Java Management Extensions]—the external agent, then analyzed and reported has also a strong influence on how fast problems can be detected and identified, and eventually on the overall efficiency of the solution.”