Symantec launches lawsuit to halt Microsoft Vista

Security and storage software giant Symantec has launched a lawsuit against Microsoft in the US. The suit centres on the alleged misappropriation of intellectual property involving a licence related to data storage technology. Symantec is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction that would halt Windows Vista and Longhorn development.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  May 22, 2006

Security and storage software giant Symantec has launched a lawsuit against Microsoft in the US. The suit centres on the alleged misappropriation of intellectual property involving a licence related to data storage technology. Symantec is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction that would halt Windows Vista and Longhorn development. Symantec’s claims centre on volume management software used to manage data storage. The software was initially developed by Veritas — now a part of Symantec — and was covered by a licensing agreement with Microsoft set up in 1996. However, Symantec now claims that Microsoft has rewritten the software for its next generation of products violating the initial licence agreement in the process. A statement from Symantec read: "Symantec’s lawsuit against Microsoft is a dispute involving a contract that Microsoft and Veritas signed in 1996 relating to Symantec’s Volume Manager technology and Microsoft’s misappropriation of our intellectual property rights for that technology. Symantec would have preferred to have resolved this issue through negotiations, and pursued that effort for close to a year. However, we were unable to resolve our differences and found it necessary to take this step to protect our intellectual property.” Microsoft issued the following statement regarding the legal filing by Symantec: “Today’s filing stems from a very narrow disagreement over the terms of a 1996 contract with Veritas to license volume management technology. We worked hard to try to resolve these issues with Symantec, but were not able to reach an agreement. We believe the facts will show that Microsoft’s actions were proper and are fully consistent with the contract between Veritas and Microsoft. These claims are unfounded because Microsoft actually purchased intellectual property rights for all relevant technologies from Veritas in 2004.” “Microsoft first entered into a contract with Veritas in 1996 to license volume management technology. The contract ultimately gave Microsoft the option to buyout the rights to Veritas’ code and intellectual property rights. In 2004, Microsoft exercised that right and purchased the IP rights. Even so, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that our volume management functionality continues to works side by side with Veritas’ products." "We value our relationship with Symantec, and we continue to work closely with them on a wide variety of issues. We are confident that our actions are wholly consistent with the legal agreements between Veritas and Microsoft, and that these claims will be shown to be without merit,” the statement continued. The two vendors have been attempting to resolve the dispute since 2004, when Symantec first became aware of some of the features planned for Vista. With technical delays already pushing the Vista launch date years behind the original schedule, this latest development could prove to be another blow for Microsoft. Despite the legal wrangling over this specific issue, both companies have made it clear that the overall partnership and co-operation remains strong and they will continue to work together where appropriate moving forward.

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