Did Microsoft steal Symantec’s Trade Secrets?

According to a claim recently filed in a federal court, Microsoft misappropriated Symantec’s trade secrets and used those secrets in Vista, Microsoft’s most recent operating system.

The Seattle Times has reported that Symantec claims that its volume data storage and manipulation technologies have been “deliberately and surreptitiously misappropriated” by Microsoft who subsequently file for a US patent.

Microsoft responded by saying that the claim stems “from a very narrow disagreement over the terms of a 1996 contract with Veritas to license volume management technology.” Veritas merged with Symantec last year. Microsoft went on to say that they had made every effort to settle the matter with Symantec, but the parties were unable to reach an agreement.

Microsoft went on to say “We believe the facts will show that Microsoft’s actions were proper and are fully consistent with the contract  between Veritas and Microsoft. These claims are unfounded because Microsoft actually purchased intellectual property rights for all relevant technologies from Veritas in 2004.”

Microsoft and Veritas entered into an agreement in 1996 to license volume management technology. Microsoft is claiming that the contract gave it the option to buyout rights to the code and any intellectual property rights. According to Microsoft this option was duly exercised in 2004 and therefore became the owner of the IP.

 Microsoft added:

“We value our relationship with Symantec, and we continue to work closely with them on a wide variety of issues. We are confident that  our actions are wholly consistent with the legal agreements between Veritas and Microsoft, and that these claims will be shown to be  without merit.”

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