Informatica Wins Round 1 in Patent Lawsuit Against Business Objects
The latest case in the ETL space is an old lawsuit between Informatica and Acta that carried forward when Business Objects bought Acta. It's hard to tell if this is a slow news day or is actually meaningful to the ETL business. My guess: slow news day.
INFA went for the expected "we want an injunction to stop them from selling the product" and BOBJ responded with the usual "we'll swap out the code if the court upholds this." Depending on breadth of the infringement, that could be tough.
I read the two patents in question - 6014670 and 6339775 - and they're pretty dry reading. It's hard to work out the exact breadth of the patents since companies try to word patents to cover the maximum breadth, sort of like stretching the last of the butter on too much toast. In this case the patent could be read specifically, but certain parts are an attempt to go wide, e.g. take data from point A, transform it, and drop it in point B, using metadata and an intermediate language. If you read it loosely, you get the impression that SQL and scripting languages infringe.
I haven't seen the court documents so I can't see how and where the patent applicability was narrowed by Business Objects in this case, or what specific features were determined to be infringing. More dry reading awaits.
I'm not a fan of software patents. Most of the time they're complete crap based on so much prior art that the person submitting should be put in thumbscrews. My first scan of the patents took me down this path. An actual reading made me think that there was more substance, but I was so sleepy by the end that I might have been dreaming. Until I see more documentation it's hard to say whether this has any import for any other ETL vendors out there. At the moment, it seems unlikely given that the lawsuit is over four years old.
Labels: business objects, informatica, lawsuit, patents
Posted by Mark Monday, April 02, 2007 4:37:00 PM |