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CA Blasts Rocket For Code Theft in $200M Suit

CA  has filed suit against rival Rocket Software and is seeking $200 million from the company, alleging that Rocket's employees used CA's source code and development environment to build its own database management software tools.

CA alleged in its amended complaint to a U.S. District Court in New York that, from 2000 to the present, Rocket infringed on CA copyrights and misappropriated trade secrets to engage in unfair competition.

The management software giant said in the complaint that Rocket hired programmers and software developers formerly employed by CA or Platinum technology International, which CA acquired in 1999.

These employees, Mark Pompeii, Robert Schulien, Michael Skopec, and David Rowe), used CA's source code and development environment to fashion Rocket's software tools for the IBM DB2 relational database management system, CA alleged.

"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," CA wrote in its complaint.

Worse still, Gary Brown, CA's director of litigation, claimed in a statement that Rocket's management not only condoned the conduct of its employees, but tried to cover up the code thefts.

By using the CA code to profit from its DB2 management software tools, which compete with CA's UniCenter Database Management software, Rocket has "defrauded CA of many millions of dollars," CA argued in its filing.

In addition to the $200 million in damages, a sum CA believes Rocket has made by selling management tools with its source code, CA is seeking an injunction preventing Rocket from distributing its database management software products.

"We will take all appropriate measures to protect our intellectual property," CA's Brown said in the statement.

A call and an e-mail to Rocket Software seeking comment were not returned as of this writing.

Such suits where one company accuses another of stealing intellectual property and trade secrets can be nasty, protracted legal battles. The Lexar-Toshiba case is a classic example, with Lexar alleging that Toshiba hired former Lexar employees who gave trade secrets to help Toshiba build its Flash memory business.

A California jury ordered Toshiba to pay Lexar $465.4 million for stealing trade secrets.

Micron last year bought Lexar, and Toshiba paid an additional $288 million for Micron's NAND Flash semiconductor technology and license patents to settle the litigation.

In another case, server startup Azul Systems sued Sun Microsystems in anticipation of the larger company suing it for patent infringement and other transgressions.

Sun came through a few months later, suing Azul for patent infringement, misappropriating trade secrets and breaking non-competition agreements.

As with the CA-Rocket and Lexar-Toshiba cases, former Sun employees with knowledge of Sun's network-attached processing architecture moved on to Azul to create technology that resembled Sun's work a little too closely, according to Sun.



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