CA sues over mainframe software copyright infringement

Software giant CA has filed a $200 million lawsuit against Rocket Software, claiming the company stole its source code to build IBM DB2 management software.

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CA Inc. has filed a $200 million lawsuit against Rocket Software Inc., claiming it stole intellectual property from CA related to its IBM DB2 management software.

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Filed on Aug. 1 in U.S. District Court in New York, the 27-page complaint seeks at least $200 million for the alleged theft as well as an injunction preventing Rocket from continuing to sell its database management software.

"Beginning around 2000 and continuing to the present," the complaint stated, "Rocket has caused to be marketed and distributed database administration software products designed for use in connection with IBM's DB2 database management system. These high-end products, which are licensed for significant sums of money by Rocket, through its marketing partner IBM, to major business entities, contain the intellectual property of CA."

Software is CA's business. We will do everything in our power to protect those products.
Gary Brown,
director of litigationCA Inc.

A woman who answered the phone at Rocket Software's headquarters in Newton, Mass., said that at this time the company had no official comment.

The Islandia, N.Y.-based CA is one of the largest software companies in the world and develops and sells many applications for the IBM mainframe.

IBM is one of Rocket's biggest OEM partners. Big Blue lists Rocket Software on its site as an "advanced partner" that has more than 180 employees. In its lawsuit, CA stated that it has no reason to believe that IBM or its customers were aware of Rocket's alleged misuse of CA's intellectual property.

CA's claims against Rocket Software include the following:

  • Rocket used CA's source code and development environment to create its own DB2 management software tools.
  • Rocket stole the code in part by hiring programmers and software developers that used to work for CA and Platinum Technology International Inc., which CA acquired in 1999.
  • Former employees then used CA's intellectual property for Rocket's software.
  • When CA confronted the company, Rocket lied about the alleged fraud and continued to distribute software with what CA claims includes stolen code.

In particular, CA claims that Rocket hired four software developers from Platinum shortly after CA acquired the company. They allegedly downloaded source code from CA's DB2 software tools onto their own electronic devices and then boasted about doing so to employees still working at CA.

Shortly after, CA claims that Rocket came out with a handful of DB2 management software tools that closely resemble CA's own software.

CA claims that a comparison of source code or even of the products' features will prove its case. It also alleges that Rocket used the same user ID system for product developers and technical writers as that used by CA, a further indication, alleges CA, that code was stolen.

About three years ago, CA began to discover the alleged infractions in stages, said Gary Brown, CA's director of litigation. Rocket denied any involvement, a position that CA first took at face value. Brown said that CA then suggested that Rocket and CA submit their source code to a third party to evaluate any similarities, but Rocket refused. So CA sued.

"Software is CA's business. This is what we are all about," said Brown. "Having discovered that it seems that our products have been misappropriated, we will do everything in our power to protect those products."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail Mark Fontecchio, News Writer.

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