Brio Technology Inc has now quickly settled its three-year-old patent dispute with Business Objects SA, having improved its bargaining position by coming up with a counter patent of its own last month. Brio has been fighting a claim first made by Business Objects in January 1997 that it had infringed the patent Relational Database Access […]
Brio Technology Inc has now quickly settled its three-year-old patent dispute with Business Objects SA, having improved its bargaining position by coming up with a counter patent of its own last month. Brio has been fighting a claim first made by Business Objects in January 1997 that it had infringed the patent Relational Database Access System Using Semantically Dynamic Objects across most of its product line, including the BrioQuery Navigator, Explorer and Designer tools. Those products represented substantially all of Brio’s revenues in fiscal 1996 and a majority of its revenues in fiscal 1997 and fiscal 1998.
Business Objects was seeking injunctive relief and unspecified monetary damages, and said it also intended to seek lost profits and/or equivalent royalties. The complaint also alleged willful infringement, and sought treble damages, costs and attorneys’ fees. Business Objects president and CEO Bernard Liautard said that in 1990, his company came up with a query paradigm, using a semantic layer, that enabled business users to access relational databases by insulating them from the complexity of database structures. This invention changed the industry and has been instrumental in the growth and success of Business Objects, he said. The technology was subsequently patented.
In June this year, however, Brio was awarded its own first patent, covering a Cross Tab Analysis and Reporting Method (CI No 3,735). The patent refers to methods and systems using a data structure to cross-tabulate or pivot rows or columns of data without requiring access to the source data. Pivoting is a widely used technique in the data warehousing world.
It’s not clear under the confidential terms of the settlement just how seriously Business Objects took Brio’s counter-claim. But it clearly helped lead the two companies to a settlement. Under the few terms that were revealed, Brio must acknowledge the validity of the Business Objects patent (US patent No 5,555,403) and will pay an undisclosed sum of money for the rights to use it. In addition, Brio will dismiss its own lawsuit, alleging infringement of US patent No 5,915,257. We’re pleased to have this lawsuit behind us, said Yorgen Edholm, CEO of Brio.
The company now groups its own products, and those of its recent acquisition Sqribe Technologies Inc, under a single umbrella name, Brio One, intended to signify its vision for a common business intelligence platform underpinned by a single set of integrated services.