Novell Inc. today lost a round in a year-old patent case brought by client/server and Internet software developer Action Technologies Inc., which alleged that certain functions of Novell's GroupWise were previously protected under a patent held by Action.
The U.S. District Court in the northern district of California granted Action's motion for a summary judgment against Novell, finding that GroupWise infringes upon Action's 1993 U.S. patent on a message status-checking utility similar to the one used in the groupware, Action officials said.
"Action clearly understands the value of the task-tracking functionality in GroupWise. In [future] products that link E-mail with calendars, task tracking will be extended by permitting tracked messages to populate calendars and manage requests. These capabilities were invented by Action," said Terry McGowan, CEO of the Alameda, Calif., software maker.
A spokesman at Novell, of Orem, Utah, said the decision came after Novell had asked that the case be dropped. The spokesman said the ruling would not impact the company's business or products and expressed confidence that the claims would ultimately be found invalid by the court.