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November 21, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Ashton-Tate Corp rocked the software industry late Friday when it filed a suit against Fox Software Inc, Perrysburg, Ohio and Foxbase distributor Santa Cruz Operation Inc in Los Angeles that extends the scope of look and feel actions to cover a programming language. The suit alleges that FoxBase+ infringes Ashton-Tate’s copyrights in its dBase II, dBase III III Plus, and seeks to prohibit Fox from proceeding with its threatened infringement of copyrights in dBase IV; monetary damages, recovery of profits from alleged infringment; and injunctive relief to prevent further marketing. Covered are FoxBase+, FoxBase+/Mac, +/386, +/LAN and SCO FoxBase+ for Xenix. We believe that Fox and SCO have violated our legal rights by copying total concept and feel of dBase III Plus, including the screens and menus, the dBase language, and the entire sequence, order and arrangement of our programs as they interact with the computer program as it presents itself to the user, says Ashton. Fox believes that the dBase language was written by Wayne Ratliff when he worked at the US Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and that, having been developed on Uncle Sam’s time, is therefore in the public domain.

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