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Judge: MicroStrategy More Sophisticated

MicroStrategy claimed the latest victory in its legal battle with Business Objects.

The McLean, Va., business intelligence software maker said a California court dismissed the last patent infringement claim in a lawsuit brought by Business Objects.

France's Business Objects alleged in October 2001 that MicroStrategy infringed on its patent covering a relational database access system using semantic objects.

The companies compete in the market for business intelligence software, which helps corporations gain more insight into their operations, generating detailed reports on the fly.

But a court opinion issued this week by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that MicroStrategy's products use a "much more sophisticated approach to generating queries." The ruling also stated that MicroStrategy's software generates faster queries than the technology claimed by Business Objects.

In its suit, one of many legal salvos the two companies have exchanged in the last four years, Business Objects sought with prejudice injunctive relief and damages in excess of $100 million.

"This is a great victory for MicroStrategy and its customers, employees, and shareholders," said Jonathan F. Klein, MicroStrategy's vice president, Law & General Counsel. "We have invested many millions of dollars to develop and deliver the industry's most advanced and scalable business intelligence solutions."

A copy of the California court's latest decision is available here.

MicroStrategy has a separate lawsuit against Business Objects for patent infringement that is expected to go to trial next May.

Both companies have suffered legal setbacks.

Last August, a federal court enjoined Business Objects from using confidential MicroStrategy documents.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found Business Objects guilty of misappropriating MicroStrategy trade secrets and slapped a cease and desist order on the San Jose, Calif., company in the wake of an October 2003 trial.

In November 2003, a Virginia court threw out a motion for a jury trial on MicroStrategy's allegations that Business Objects interfered with employment agreements between MicroStrategy and its former employees.

The protracted case underscores the fierce competition in the business intelligence software space, which IDC estimates will be worth about $5 billion by 2007.