CA Sues IBM Over Web Security Software

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Launching a new battle in the security software space, Computer Associates International is suing rival IBM for alleged copyright infringement of a key product.

In a seven-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court, CA claimed that its SeOS access-control software has been illegally distributed by IBM through IBM Global Services. CA also ships the SeOS through its own product, eTrust Access Control.

"On countless occasions, IBM has knowingly and willfully infringed upon CA's copyrights in the various releases of SeOS software as they were made available by copying, using and [distributing it without authorization," CA charged in the complaint.

"IBM wrongfully distributed the SeOS software to unknown third parties and used the SeOS software in a service bureau arrangement by permitting its Global Services division, which typically provides software services to customers without licenses, to use, copy and distribute the SeOS software to third parties," CA claimed.

Spokesmen for CA and IBM declined to comment on the matter.

The federal lawsuit is a new broadside in the long-simmering rivalry between CA and IBM in the system management software space, which now has extended to the security arena. CA markets eTrust Access Control as a Web access-control solution. The company originally acquired SeOS in its 1999 acquisition of Platinum Technology and Platinum's Israeli subsidiary, Memco Software.

In its complaint, CA acknowledges that it has an SeOS licensing agreement with IBM unit Tivoli Systems, one of CA's top rivals in the system management software market. IBM also acknowledges the licensing relationship on its Web site in a QandA about Tivoli security software.

"Tivoli has entered into a technology acquisition agreement with Memco, whereby Tivoli will use the SeOS function in Tivoli Security Manager," IBM said on its Web site. "The SeOS code [also shipped by CA in eTrust Access Control is used to provide a Unix platform security engine. . . . This enables Tivoli to provide an enhanced security environment for Unix and to manage Unix versions from multiple vendors in a consistent manner and within a role-based administration environment.

"SeOS is effectively just another security engine managed by Security Manager," IBM said on its site.

CA said in its complaint that the Tivoli-CA license on SeOS is now the subject of arbitration, but the company didn't provide details.

Apart from its agreement with Tivoli, CA said in its complaint, "IBM was not otherwise authorized to use, copy or distribute the SeOS software. In addition, IBM and Tivoli were expressly prohibited from distributing the SeOS software to unknown third parties or from using it in a service bureau arrangement."

CA filed the suit March 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. IBM has not yet filed a response.

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