Sunday, June 16, 2024

Symantec Sues Microsoft to Halt Vista

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UPDATED: Symantec sued Microsoft Thursday, charging it with misappropriating its intellectual property and breaching its contract and patent infringement, among other trespasses.

Symantec said in a filing with a district court in Seattle that it seeks an injunction to stop Microsoft from selling Vista and other software products that use its technology, and seeks the removal of the IP from the offending products.

The security software giant claims Microsoft employs volume management technology in its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system, Windows Server 2003 and other Windows products that improperly uses Veritas’ code and intellectual property.

“We’re just trying to protect our IP and what we’re focused on is making sure that our IP is being protected and that any IP that misappropriated or misused is removed from the Microsoft products,” Michael Schallop, director of legal affairs at Symantec, told

Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., also wants compensation for the harm Microsoft has caused to Symantec, but did not specify what compensation it was looking for.

The company did note in its filing that it would like Microsoft to pay Symantec punitive and declaratory damages, “treble” damages for willful patent infringement, a portion of its profits from selling products that used the IP in question, plus attorneys’ fees.

Schallop added that it was too early in the discovery process to put a “damages number” on what Symantec is seeking.

The Volume Manager technology at the heart of the matter manages how data is stored, protecting it in case of outages or failures.

Microsoft had been authorized to use this technology in a 1996 licensing agreement with Veritas, which Symantec acquired last year.

In 2004, the software giant exercised a ‘buy out’ option and purchased intellectual property rights for all relevant technologies from Veritas.

Symantec said Microsoft is using its code to create products that will compete with Symantec.

Moreover, Symantec said that Microsoft concealed its misappropriation by denying Symantec access to Microsoft’s source code, which Microsoft was required to provide under the agreement.

“Microsoft’s pervasive and continuing disregard of Symantec’s intellectual property and contract rights has irreparably harmed Symantec and constitutes trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, copyright infringement, and patent infringement,” Symantec said in its filing.

Microsoft denied any misuse or contract breach, claiming that it is entitled to use the volume management code in Windows Vista.

“We acted properly under our contract, and in fact even exercised our right to ‘buy out’ the code under the contract several years ago, in part to be better able to fix the bugs and compromises in code we licensed from Veritas,” Microsoft said in a statement.

The Redmond, Wash., company also said Veritas has long been aware that Microsoft was revising the Volume Manager code to make it work better in Windows.

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