A year after a small US software company persuaded Microsoft to pay $5m to license its technology, the same developer has now accused Oracle of infringing the same patents.
Timeline, which makes Windows-based financial management reporting software, was awarded three patents for technology that automates the restructuring of schemas and data between differing sources and target databases. In a lawsuit filed yesterday against Oracle, it claims that the database giant has developed software that uses technology similar to its patented database analytical product.
The software developer is also in the middle of a legal battle with Microsoft. The Redmond giant originally licensed the technology last year but immediately ignited a legal confrontation about whether it could sub-license it to its own software developer customers.
Charles Osenbaugh, Timeline's chief executive, claimed the patented technology is featured in SQL Server and is confident his company will win its suit against Microsoft when a US court hears the case in December. He said there are two clauses in the licence agreement between the two companies that regulate sub-licences.
If Timeline succeeds, it could mean a windfall worth tens of millions of dollars for the company in additional licence fees from developers that have incorporated SQL Server in their offerings.
As part of the original settlement that led to Microsoft licensing the technology, both it and Timeline agreed not to disclose the actual amount the software giant agreed to pay. Timeline, however, was forced to report the $5m as extra revenues in its quarterly 10-Q filings with regulatory authority The Securities and Exchange Commission.
Osenbaugh is equally confident that Oracle will eventually have to pay licensing fees. "I have to be confident or else I wouldn't have started the action. It's going to be very expensive," he said.
Timeline is also suing another software company, Sagent Technologies, over the same patents, with a hearing scheduled to take place next year unless a settlement is reached beforehand.
Oracle declined to comment on the case.
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