Microsoft, SAP sued by inventor over coding method

Certain Microsoft and SAP software, including NetWeaver, violates a patent, according to the suit

Microsoft, SAP and Bamboo Solutions are being sued by a Virginia company that claims some of the companies' software products infringe on its patented, "novel technique for associating the modules of a multi-module computer program."

SAP's NetWeaver middleware stack, various Microsoft products and a Microsoft SharePoint project management tool sold by Bamboo Solutions use the method, according to the complaint filed Oct. 25 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by REC Software USA. REC president Stephen Pickett received a patent for the method in 1998.

Other Microsoft products also infringe on the patent, including Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows XP, according to the complaint.

The defendants have "knowingly or with reckless disregard willfully infringed" on Pickett's patent.

REC's complaint does not specify when or how it detected the alleged infringement. It is asking for a judgment barring the defendants from infringing on the patent as well as monetary damages.

SAP and Microsoft are working together on Duet and Duet Enterprise, software that provides interoperability between SAP applications and Microsoft's SharePoint and Office software. It was not known Monday whether REC's allegations are tied to Duet.

It was also not clear whether REC is currently developing or selling software or services. A website for the Arlington, Virginia, company could not immediately be located. It was incorporated in July, according to a search of the corporation database on the state of Virginia's website.

An attorney for REC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft said the company had no comment at this time.

SAP is aware of the suit and is now under evaluation by its attorney, according to spokesman Andy Kendzie. Bamboo Solutions did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Chris Kanaracus

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