RealTime IT News

MicroStrategy Files Patent Suit Against Rival

MicroStrategy has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Crystal Decisions, a rival in the business intelligence software arena that was successfully acquired for $1.2 billion by Business Objects Thursday.

MicroStrategy competes with Business Objects and Palo Alto, Calif.'s Crystal in the lucrative sector of software that makes determinations about customers, employees and business processes to help companies make better operational, organizational and fiscal decisions.

Business Objects moved to acquire Crystal for $820 million in July to round out its reporting capabilities. It sealed the deal today.

MicroStrategy's timing was interesting in light of the Business Objects acquisition. Business Objects is also fending off patent and misappropriation of trade secrets suits from MicroStrategy.

Another suit alleging that Business Objects tortiously interfered with MicroStrategy employment agreements was thrown out last month.

If MicroStrategy makes its argument successfully, Business Objects could experience significant losses.

This is because MicroStrategy is asking for treble damages for Crystal's "unauthorized use of MicroStrategy's patented technology," attorneys' fees and an injunction preventing Crystal from making, using, or selling flagship products, including Crystal Enterprise, Crystal Reports, Crystal Analysis and Crystal Applications.

Crystal spokesperson Ian Galbraith told internetnews.com Crystal refused to comment on the timing of the case.

Asked about the peculiar timing of the suit and whether or not it was an attempt to stall Business Object's bid for Crystal, MicroStrategy spokesman Marc Brailov said that the company was simply trying to protect its intellectual property and noted that the suits took a long time to prepare.

He also refused to comment about whether the filing was an attempt to throw a wrench into Business Object's plans.

Two of the three allegations of patent infringement deals specifically with reporting technology, which is used to generate timely, accurate and efficient reports.

Mclean, Va.'s MicroStrategy, which launched its reporting software product last month, filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging that Crystal infringes on its patents relating to asynchronous control of report generation using a Web browser; management of an automatic OLAP report broadcast system; and providing business intelligence Web content with reduced client-side processing.

"MicroStrategy invests millions of dollars each year in research and development to create new, patented inventions that provide substantial value to our customers," said Jonathan F. Klein, MicroStrategy's Vice President, Law & General Counsel, in a public statement. "Those inventions and the intellectual property behind them are the cornerstone of our business. Like any other valuable asset, MicroStrategy has a responsibility to its shareholders to protect the value of its intellectual property."