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January 6, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:51pm

ACTION TECHNOLOGIES WINS KEY ROUND IN PATENT BATTLE

By CBR Staff Writer

Groupware vendor Action Technologies Inc last week won a key round in a year-long court battle against Novell Inc, whose Groupwise program it claims violates Action patents, reports ClieNT Server News. The US District Court for the Northern District of California handed down a summary judgement ruling that Groupwise’s task tracking features infringe a key Action patent. The Alameda, California-based company says the task tracking issue represents more than half of its case. An eventual Action victory in the little-noticed lawsuit could result in Action also chasing after other groupware vendors for patent licences. So far, Action’s been playing its cards close to its vest – after all it has only won one court battle, not the war. However, the company says it is looking at Microsoft’s new Outlook program, a piece of Office 97 that handles diaries, electronic mail and contact management, but hasn’t worked out whether or not that might infringe its patents too. At this point, it says, neither Lotus Development Corp’s Notes nor Microsoft’s Exchange use features to which it claims patent rights. Action feels it owns rights to link electronic mail and diaries to extend a program’s task tracking abilities. Action plans to add the link to an upgrade of its flagship software product, Action Workflow.

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