Micro Focus has been and continues to be a member of IBM PartnerWorld.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

November 22, 2022

3 Min Read

IBM has filed a lawsuit against Micro Focus, alleging it illegally copied and reverse-engineered IBM software in violation of copyright law.

Big Blue filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges copyright infringement and breach of contract. It’s seeking monetary relief, including damages and attorneys’ fees. It’s also seeking an injunction against Micro Focus to prohibit it from “illegally copying and distributing” its software.

“Micro Focus has brazenly stolen IBM software and we are going to protect IBM’s product development investment from Micro Focus’ illegal tactics,” IBM said. “We will aggressively defend IBM’s intellectual property against those who attempt to steal it.”

Micro Focus said the claims in the lawsuit are “entirely without merit.”

“For more than 40 years, Micro Focus has been delivering innovation to customers, and we will robustly defend our intellectual property,” it said. “We look forward to addressing what we consider to be baseless allegations through all available legal channels. The proposed acquisition of Micro Focus by OpenText and receipt of the associated regulatory approvals are on track for completion in the first calendar quarter of 2023. We expect these claims to have no impact on the completion of the transaction.”

Micro Focus Allegedly ‘Gained Financially’ at IBM’s Expense

In its complaint, Big Blue said Micro Focus has been and continues to be a member of PartnerWorld. It also was a member of IBM’s Developer Discount Program.

“Although developers participating in these programs are given the opportunity to access and use valuable IBM software … restrictions make clear that such use is not unlimited,” IBM said. “In order to protect its valuable software, IBM relies on its developers’ contractual agreements. Yet … IBM has come to learn that Micro Focus flagrantly flouted the terms of at least these agreements to create the [products] that Micro Focus then used and promoted to gain financially at IBM’s expense.”

Big Blue alleges Micro Focus copied it’s copyrighted software and breached its agreements.

Micro Focus’ copying and reverse-engineering significantly reduced the development time and cost required to create the Micro Focus Enterprise Suite,” IBM said.

‘Illegal Opportunism’

IBM said it continues to be harmed by the company’s “breach and willful infringement of its intellectual property rights.”

In addition, IBM said the alleged actions constitute “illegal opportunism, willful infringement, and blatant breach of Micro Focus’ contractual obligation” and undermine IBM’s “significant investments” in software innovation.

IBM said its programs foster an ecosystem of developers that create applications for its mainframe systems.

“IBM and its customers rely on these software developers as trusted partners,” it said. “Micro Focus has broken that trust, a discovery that this suit brings to light.”

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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.

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