Compuware Corporation has filed suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan charging IBM Corporation with misappropriating and using Compuware intellectual property in IBM mainframe products.
The Compuware complaint also contends that IBM has illegally used its monopoly power in mainframe hardware and software products to compete unfairly in the software tools markets. The suit further alleges unlawful tying by IBM in violation of the US Sherman Antitrust Act.
‘We have been considering this distressing issue for quite some time and regrettably concluded that Compuware was required to take this action in order to protect the interests of the company, its customers, and its shareholders,’ said Joseph A. Nathan, President of Compuware.
‘IBM has attempted to enter the mainframe software tools market and compete with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) by misappropriating Compuware’s source code and even copying our user manual. We are filing this lawsuit in an effort to stop IBM’s illegal practices and promote open competition in the ISV marketplace,’ Nathan added.
Specific contentions in the Compuware complaint include the fact that IBM has misappropriated and illegally used portions of Compuware copyrighted software products for IBM’s new File Manager and Fault Analyzer products. The IBM products have many features that are substantially similar to Compuware’s products and contain limitations and bugs that provide strong indications that Compuware’s source code was copied. IBM’s File Manager user manual includes numerous passages that are nearly verbatim copies of Compuware manuals.
Compuware also claims that for years, IBM provided companies such as Compuware with pre-release software and data to enable Compuware and other ISVs to develop more effective products that work with IBM software. This has strongly benefited IBM, Compuware and other ISVs and their customers, who need software tools that work well with IBM’s hardware and software. Now that IBM has begun to compete with Compuware and other ISVs, IBM has severely restricted the free flow of this information to Compuware.
IBM Global Services is a worldwide solutions provider to company IT departments, whose clients rely on IBM for objective information on software tools. But now, Compuware claims, IBM has begun to steer clients away from the products of Compuware and other ISVs and instead directs clients to IBM products.
It also says that IBM has tied the purchase of certain mainframe software tools to the purchases of critical IBM software products. This practice threatens to substantially foreclose competition on the merits of and interfere with customer choice in each such market, Compuware says.
‘Our sole mission with the lawsuit is to ask the courts to require fair play in the marketplace so that mainframe customers are free to select the software tools that provide the best value and performance,’ Nathan concluded.