IBM to Sue Micro Focus for Software Theft

IBM accuses former program partner of stealing from its CICS Mainframe ecosystem

IBM to Sue Micro Focus for Software Theft
Data & AnalyticsIBM

Last Edited: November 23, 2022

Rory Greener

Rory Greener

This Tuesday, major international technology firm IBM filed a lawsuit against enterprise-grade digital solutions developer and former partner Micro Focus with accusations of software theft.

IBM’s suite claims that Micro Focus violated copyright laws by reverse-engineering its CICS (Customer Information Control System) Mainframe service to establish the Micro Focus Enterprise Server and Enterprise Developer solutions.

IBM has raised the complaint with the US District Court in New York, seeking monetary relief. Additionally, the firm suggests the US District Court Judge impose an injunction on Micro Focus that prevents the firm from causing further damage to its intellectual property (IP) via illegal distribution or copying.

Micro Focus still sells both packages that IBM claims the firm built on stolen software. Despite IBM’s recent discovery, the services are multiple years old, meaning the lawsuit’s monetary relief may reach significant amounts.

IBM Accuses Micro Focus of “Brazen Theft”

IBM’s lawsuit stems from an internal collaboration between the firms. The Armonk, New York-based firm claims that the actions of Micro Focus during this period breached its contractual obligations.

IBM says that Micro Focus started stealing software when it first joined a developer program that gave it exclusive access to IBM technology.

The suit also outlines how Micro Focus’ actions at the time show “illegal opportunism” and “willful infringement.” In turn, The New York-based firm says that Micro Focus’s illegal operations undermine its “significant investments in software innovation.”

IBM’s CICS Mainframe is a long-running programme allowing enterprise clients to optimize customer-led digital transactions. The service also manages transaction databases via sharing recourses, monitoring data integrity, and prioritizing execution procedures.

Within its CICS Mainframe ecosystem, IBM is accusing Micro Focus of stealing elements of its CICS Transaction Server.

IBM’s original statement says:

Micro Focus entered into contracts with IBM to benefit from IBM’s developer programs and get access to IBM’s technology, and then purposefully breached the terms of those agreements to suit Micro Focus’s own ends. This violates IBM’s intellectual property rights, undermines the investments it has made in software innovation, and unfairly deprives IBM of revenues attributable to its software.

IBM explains the CICS Mainframe uses WSBIND file types to help external networks identify transactional web services. The firm claims Micro Focus solutions employ a “near-identical” WSBIND infrastructure.

Micro Focus has not yet commented on the situation or the long-standing effect the lawsuit may have on its product portfolio. Although IBM is attempting to “aggressively” defend its IP against others trying to steal the firm’s technology innovations.




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