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November 24, 2010

Information Builders considers legal action against Micro Focus

Exclusive: Concern over brand conflict with Information Builders' Focus and WebFOCUS


Business intelligence firm Information Builders is considering legal action against Micro Focus, CBR has learned, over concern that Micro Focus’ brand could be confused with Information Builders’ flagship products, Focus and WebFOCUS.

It’s understood that Information Builders has made it clear to Micro Focus that should Micro Focus expand its business – currently application modernisation and management – so that it is anywhere near to the Focus/WebFOCUS business intelligence technologies, Information Builders will take legal action.

Our source at Information Builders said that Micro Focus has so far been "very slow to react" to Information Builders’ concerns. Our source said that although Information Builders is "keen to settle this thing out of court", if it fails to win Micro Focus’ co-operation, "We’ll go to court, and we’ll win."

Micro Focus was founded in 1976 but became Micro Focus Group in 1983. Our source at Information Builders says the company has documented evidence that its Focus brand was created at least as early as 1975.

"If they expand say towards doing something like Micro Focus Reporting it becomes confusing with Focus," said our source. "We’ve said if they expand into that sort of area we’ll object in court, and we’ll win hands down."

In response to our questions a Micro Focus spokesperson told CBR: "There is no litigation between Micro Focus and Information Builders. Both companies have been negotiating amicably with respect to the registration of a trademark."

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Information Builders is a privately held business intelligence software vendor founded in 1975 with headquarters in New York. Micro Focus has its headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire in the UK, and it helps companies move or modernise their legacy systems. Micro Focus is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

In June 2008 Micro Focus acquired Israeli software firm NetManage for $73.3m, and in July 2009 it acquired Borland for $75m and the Quality Solutions testing tools from Compuware.

It’s likely Micro Focus will be just as keen to settle this matter out of court as Information Builders. In 2004 Micro Focus announced that it had chosen iWay as its strategic ally for integration adapters; iWay is an Information Builders company.

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