Symantec suit could stall Vista release

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Symantec has filed a lawsuit against software giant Microsoft, claiming that the Redmond, Wash., company has misused volume management software.

The suit, filed yesterday in a Seattle court, claims unspecified damages and could halt the release of Microsoft’s next generation Vista server.

The case is related to a 1996 contract between Microsoft and Veritas licensing Veritas software. Cupertino, Calif.,-based Symantec acquired Veritas last year.

The court order would cease any development or sale of technology related to the former Veritas software.

Symantec said in a statement Thursday that "Microsoft gained access to the misappropriated technology by licensing volume management technology from Veritas, and then violated the clear terms of the license agreement by using that technology to develop completing features and products. The complaint also states that Microsoft improperly incorporated that technology into its operating system products, including Vista."

The suit also alleges that Microsoft wrongfully claimed to have invented product features provided by Veritas.

"The lawsuit aims to stop Microsoft’s misappropriation and misuse of Symantec’s intellectual property, and seeks the removal of all such intellectual property from Microsoft operating system products. It also seeks proper compensation for the harm Microsoft has caused to Symantec," said a statement from Symantec.

Microsoft said the lawsuit stems from a "very narrow disagreement over the terms of a 1996 contract with Veritas to license volume management technology."

"These claims are unfounded because Microsoft actually purchased intellectual property rights for all relevant technologies from Veritas in 2004," said the Microsoft statement. "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."

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