BMC Software files patent infringement lawsuit against ServiceNow

BMC claims that ServiceNow infringes patents in its core products

BMC Software has filed a patent infringement suit against ServiceNow, claiming its patents are violated by the rival's IT management technologies.

The company in Houston, Texas, has accused ServiceNow of allegedly violating seven patents in products in its offerings, which include incident and problem management, performance analytics, configuration management, including ServiceNow's Configuration Management Database, discovery, orchestration, and change and release management.

"BMC's ability to earn sufficient profits from demand for its innovations is harmed when others freely use these patented technologies and offer them at below market prices because such infringers do not need to recoup BMC's enormous R&D investments," the company said in its complaint Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall division.

Among the allegations against ServiceNow is that it hired key former BMC employees, including engineers and sales staff, who were used to develop "key aspects of the ServiceNow Service Automation Platform and related products, including at least some of the features that infringe the patents-in-suit."

ServiceNow in Santa Clara, California, could not be immediately reached for comment.

BMC's complaint refers to an interview in May 2013 by ServiceNow's founder and Chief Product Officer, Fred Luddy, as evidence of his attitude towards the intellectual property rights of others. Luddy said in the video cited that "good artists copy and great artists steal, and I've been a thief all my life. I'm going to admit it right here, right on camera, live." Luddy was discussing in the interview the process how artists reformulate and repurpose ideas to solve new problems.

BMC has asked the court, among other things, for damages and a permanent injunction against ServiceNow and its executives from engaging in the alleged infringements.

The IT management patents in the suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 5,978,594, 6,816,898, 6,895,586, 7,062,683, 7,617,073, 8,646,093 and 8,674,992. They include patents for a method and system for configuration management database software license compliance, system and method for assessing and indicating the health of components, and interfacing external metrics into a performance management system.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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