CA accuses Rocket Software of stealing source code

CA accuses Rocket Software of stealing source code

CA asks judge for $200 million in damages

CA has accused Rocket Software of stealing source code and other intellectual property to build database administration tools that closely resemble CA's, and is asking a federal judge for more than US$200 million in damages.

Four engineers at a CA subsidiary stole source code before taking new jobs at Rocket, where they used the code to build six database-administration software products for IBM's DB2 database in half the time it took CA to build almost identical products, states a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. CA's complaint lists 12 "substantial similarities" between Rocket's products and its own.

"Rocket knowingly and intentionally stole from CA the source code and development environment used to create these products," CA alleges. "With Rocket's knowledge and approval, these [former CA] employees misappropriated CA's intellectual property and converted this property to Rocket's use."

CA requires all employees to sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from disclosing proprietary information, the company says.

Rocket declined comment when contacted by Network World Thursday.

Rocket launched three database tools in December 2000, less than a year after hiring the four engineers who had worked at CA's subsidiary Platinum Technology International. CA alleges that these products all had features and functions that "directly corresponded" to highly complex CA products that had taken nearly three years to create.

Six months later, Rocket launched three more DB2 database tools that again mimicked features and functions in CA products, the vendor alleges. The six Rocket products in question are DB2 Query Monitor, DB2 Log Analysis Tool, DB2 Object Restore Tool, DB2 Archive Log Accelerator, DB2 Automation Tool and DB2 Change Accumulation tool.

CA says it confronted Rocket in July 2001, but had to take Rocket's word that it had not stolen source code. Then CA in 2004 received an anonymous letter -- apparently from a Rocket employee -- that detailed the intellectual property theft.

CA and Rocket then attempted to negotiate a source-code inspection by a neutral third party, but never reached agreement despite a lengthy negotiation period, the complaint states.

CA filed its initial complaint in April, and filed an amended complaint on Wednesday.

CA claims it has been defrauded of more than $200 million through the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets. The vendor's complaint asks for the destruction of all copies of Rocket software developed using CA code, an order preventing Rocket from selling any products developed with CA code, and damages of more than US$200 million.

Rocket has 20 days to file a response to CA's complaint, a CA spokesman says. No hearings have been scheduled.

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