Sun and StorageTek sued for copyright infringement

The companies are sued for unlawful use of technology and breach of contract

Sun Microsystems has found itself involved in another intellectual property lawsuit, this time with a Californian company that says Sun and its StorageTek unit have committed copyright infringement and fraud.

Netbula, which offers internet development tools, has filed suit against Sun and StorageTek in the US District Court for the Northern District of California for unlawful use of Netbula’s core technology in their LibAttach software, says Netbula.

Netbula also claims that Sun and StorageTek breached a contract Netbula had with the companies and misrepresented their use part of Netbula’s main product line, PowerRPC, in their infringement of copyrights. PowerRPC is a cross-platform client/server development kit for various versions of Windows, as well as for Unix and Java.

Sun announced it would purchase StorageTek in June 2005, but Netbula is suing the two as separate companies because the alleged copyright infringement began when they were still individual entities, says Vonnah Brillet, the lawyer handling the case for Netbula.

Brillet says Netbula president Don Yue developed software and sold a licence for it to StorageTek when it was a stand-alone company. At one point when he asked about whether StorageTek was still using the technology, he was told the company was not, she alleges.

However, some time after that, someone from StorageTek asked Yue for updates to the technology, which proved that the company was still using it, but not paying for the licence, Brillet alleges.

Netbula tried to resolve the issue with Sun before filing the suit, it says.

It is seeking an injunction to stop Sun and StorageTek from using its technology, plus financial restitution.