Cribl CEO Rips Into 'Completely Fabricated' Splunk Lawsuit

Cribl's CEO said much of Splunk's lawsuit has already been thrown out.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

April 4, 2024

3 Min Read
Splunk lawsuit

An ongoing Splunk lawsuit against Cribl constitutes “just waging lawfare” against the company.

That’s according to Clint Sharp, Cribl’s co-founder and CEO. The lawsuit, filed in October 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleged Cribl “infringes numerous Splunk copyrights and patents, and has unlawfully misappropriated Splunk source code and confidential materials.”

Sharp released a new statement on the Splunk lawsuit on Thursday. Splunk, which Cisco has acquired, said it doesn't comment on pending legal matters.

Splunk’s complaint alleged Sharp founded Cribl using code that he took from Splunk when he was a Splunk employee without permission or a license to do so. Splunk further alleged Cribl and Sharp encouraged Splunk employees, who they recruited to Cribl, to misappropriate confidential technical and business documents from Splunk.

Moreover, Splunk alleged that “since then, Cribl has developed and marketed its software by, among other things, making unlicensed copies of Splunk’s copyrighted software, and is willfully infringing numerous patents awarded to Splunk by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

Splunk Lawsuit Includes ‘Fantastical’ Narrative

Sharp said the lawsuit includes a “fantastical narrative” that he open-sourced an implementation of a proprietary communications protocol, Splunk to Splunk (S2S), while still at Splunk, and then left to immediately start a competitor while also infringing upon multiple patents.

Related:Cisco Closes $28 Billion Splunk Acquisition

“It was headline grabbing,” he said. “It was also completely fabricated. I did not surreptitiously open-source any Splunk S2S implementation, nor did we immediately start Cribl when we left Splunk. We toiled for a year and a half on other ideas before discovering that customers were struggling with the tension between data growth and budget.”

Cribl's Clint Sharp

The S2S implementation Splunk referenced in the complaint was a re-implementation of a Python version built in 2014 and which was still available on Splunk’s own GitHub under an Apache license, Sharp said.

“The patents Splunk referenced in the lawsuit were thrown out early in the case,” he said. “At this point, nearly all of the headline-grabbing portions of the case are no longer part of the lawsuit. Notably, I am no longer a named defendant, and yet we are still likely going to trial. Why? Because this was never a lawsuit aimed at curing an injustice.”

Trying to Slow Cribl’s Progress

Splunk is just “attempting to slow down” Cribl’s progress in the market, despite the “huge value delivered to customers with our joint solution,” Sharp said. Cribl’s product suite is designed to ensure interoperability across many data platforms, including Splunk.

“Cribl’s achievements stem from our team’s expertise, ingenuity and unwavering focus on delivering value to our users,” he said. “Cribl’s founders used our deep domain expertise to create a company that values and invests in innovation over litigation.”

Cribl wants to “put this senseless litigation behind us,” Sharp said.

“Splunk is a great company, with great products loved by thousands of enterprises,” he said. “Cribl provides complementary products, which create a joint solution customers love. We want to go back to the days of our partnership, and work together with Splunk to deliver amazing value in the marketplace. Instead, Splunk wants to litigate rather than innovate. The current litigation is a serious risk to fair use standards the industry has come to rely on in order to interoperate and test proprietary software. It’s our sincere hope we can still settle this matter before trial, but if not, not only for Cribl, but the entire industry, Splunk cannot and should not win.”

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like