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Judge Orders Patented Informatica Technology Stripped From Business Objects Software

Informatica won an injunction in its patent fight with Business Objects, as a judge permanently barred Business Objects from shipping certain technology in its Data Integrator software.

Informatica won an injunction last week in its patent fight with Business Objects, as a judge permanently barred Business Objects from shipping certain technology in its Data Integrator software.

Anticipating that outcome, Business Objects recently released a new version of Data Integrator without the infringing technology. The workaround rendered the injunction moot, the company said.

Still, Redwood City, Calif.-based Informatica celebrated its victory and cast it as a competitive advantage.

"The ability to create reusable transformations is a critical element of an enterprise-class data integration solution, and their use and reuse across multiple projects is a key driver of cost efficiencies and productivity," Informatica CFO Earl Fry said in a statement. "We are pleased with this most recent ruling and the affirmation it provides for Informatica's proven ability to innovate."

Business Objects was found guilty last month of infringing Informatica patents, the outcome of a lawsuit filed more than four years ago in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The company was ordered to pay a fine of $25 million, a decision that it's appealing.

The legal tussle concerns a product feature relating to embedded data flows with one input and one output. Though the feature has been removed in the latest version of Data Integrator, customers running older versions aren't required to upgrade and may continue using their current software.

Solution providers that work with Data Integrator said they're still figuring out the legal verdict's ramifications, but several said they don't expect serious fallout.

The affected feature set is "something we could do without," Business Objects partner Joe Guerra, vice president and chief architect at RapidDecision of Andrews Consulting Group in Cheshire, Conn., said recently.

Business Objects, based in Paris and San Jose, Calif., said that less than 1 percent of its customers use the functionality at issue in the lawsuit.

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