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May 06, 2013

Famous court cases: Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc [Purp]

An early morning snack.

This one dragged on for about 6 years. Lotus claimed copyright on their spreadsheet's menu system organization and accelerator keys, and spreadsheet macros which had been duplicated by Borland in the Quattro Pro spreadsheet product. Borland didn't copy Lotus code, only the layout of the menus and macro names/semantics so users wouldn't have to learn a whole new menu system and not have to modify their existing spreadsheets.

Within the industry it was know as the "look and feel" issue.

Finding: You CAN duplicate the look and feel of something and create a compatible clone of it as long as the underlying implementation differs from the original.

Most relevant recent application of Lotus v Borland -- the finding last year in Oracle v Google that Google's cloning of Java on Android was allowed. If Oracle had had a better understanding of Lotus v Borland, they'd have realized they were gonna be stone losers in the end.


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posted by Open Blogger at 06:35 AM

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