Compuware sues IBM for antitrust violations

Compuware sues IBM for antitrust violations

IBM mainframe software vendor Compuware is suing IBM for unauthorised use of Compuware source code and for antitrust violations.

Compuware's complains are fourfold, said Compuware president Joe Nathan. The company is charging IBM with using Compuware source code in its File Manager and Fault Analyzer tools, illegally tying customer purchases of mainframe software tools to purchases of other key IBM software products, steering its services customers to its own products without fair competition and denying rival vendors necessary technical information on IBM hardware and software.

"Over the last 18 months that this issue has developed, we have been talking with various IBM executives at many levels, and just had not gotten anywhere," Nathan said. "We're frustrated."

An IBM spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, which Compuware filed on Tuesday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Compuware is based in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

IBM traditionally provided independent software vendors (ISVs) with prerelease software and other technical data. As IBM began introducing its own competitive products, that information flow dried up, Nathan said.

Coupled with the software tying and the increasing tendency of IBM's Global Services unit to steer customers to IBM's own products without open competition, IBM's actions are quashing competition and innovation within the ISV market, he said.

As Compuware began gathering evidence to bring an antitrust suit against IBM, the company discovered the alleged intellectual property violations, according to Nathan.

"When we looked at the IBM product, we were astonished to find that the products not only looked very similar, but the IBM product had the same bugs Compuware's product had in past releases," Nathan said.

IBM's File Manager user manual also contains numerous passages that are verbatim copies of Compuware's own manuals, including documentation of Compuware features not found in IBM's product, he said.

Compuware has discussed IBM's actions with other ISVs, but decided it needed to file the lawsuit on its own, Nathan said. As far as he knows, Compuware is the only ISV dealing with intellectual property infringements by IBM, he said.

Compuware has not yet calculated the sum it may seek from IBM to cover damages.

"Every time IBM sells a product that uses our technology, it damages us. That will come out at the trial," Nathan said.

The company's main interest is re-establishing fair competition in the market, he said.

"We want IBM to stop selling products that use Compuware technology, we want them to stop tying sales of products that compete with others in the industry, we want global services to run free and open competition and we want the flow of technical information restored," Nathan said.

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