CA Technologies sues AppDynamics for patent pilfering

AppDynamics' founder led software development at an APM company later acquired by CA Technologies

CA Technologies is suing a rival in the Application Performance Management (APM) market, accusing AppDynamics of using three of CA's patented technologies. The founder and CEO of AppDynamics helped lead software development at an APM company later acquired by CA.

Use of the technologies is "willful and deliberate patent infringement," charged Richard Donoghue, chief counsel for litigation for CA, in a statement. "We will take all steps necessary to ensure that our intellectual property is protected."

The patent infringement lawsuit, filed in the U.S. in the Eastern District Court of New York, seeks undisclosed damages for lost profits and legal costs, as well as an injunction against further use of the CA's patented intellectual property (IP).

CA obtained the three patents from Wily Technology, which CA purchased in 2006 for US$375 million. AppDynamics' founder, Jyoti Bansal, worked at Wily and, after the acquisition, CA itself. According to the CA complaint, Bansal, then a senior software engineer at Wily, was the original assignee of one patent, and he influenced the design decisions for the other two.

AppDynamics offers a self-titled APM package as both on-premises software and as hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS). Like other APM offerings, AppDynamics monitors enterprise application performance and generates information for troubleshooting. CA's own APM suite, CA Application Performance Management, includes one component -- Wily's Introscope -- from the Wily acquisition.

All three patents cover techniques of instrumenting systems for performance monitoring. Both U.S. Patent 7,225,361 and U.S. Patent 7,797,580 detail methods determining that a system has stalled. And U.S. Patent 7,512,935 describes a method of adding more functionality to an exit routine.

AppDynamics declined to respond to a request for an interview, though a spokeswoman emailed a statement that read, in part: "AppDynamics has received no official paperwork or details regarding the alleged lawsuit so we're unable to comment on it. We do strongly believe AppDynamics does not infringe upon any protected IP."

This is not the first time CA has had to stem potential patent infringements of Wily technology involving former employees of that company. Last November, the company charged that APM provider New Relic inappropriately used the same three APM patents. New Relic was founded by Lew Cirne, who was a senior Wily executive and was listed as a co-inventor in two of the three patents. Like Bansal, Cirne worked at CA, briefly, after the Wily acquisition. That case is ongoing.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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