Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
compiled code, trade secrets

csi, intel, silvaco

Software Buyers Not Liable For Trade Secrets In Compiled Source Code

from the good-ruling dept

Mark B points us to an interesting and well-written ruling in a lawsuit where Silvaco Data Systems lost its argument that Intel and others could be found liable for violating Silvaco's trade secrets, because those companies purchased software from another company who had violated Silvaco's trade secrets.

The quick background is that another company -- Circuit Semantics Inc., (CSI) -- has apparently used trade secrets from Silvaco in creating its software. Silvaco won its lawsuit against Circuit Semantics, barring further sale of its code. Silvaco then sued buyers of CSI's code, including Intel, claiming that they, via CSI, had also violated Silvaco's trade secrets. The ruling against Silvaco is well argued and smashes Silvaco's argument -- noting the difference between the source code, which contained the trade secrets, and the compiled software, which Intel obtained. The judge points out how silly Silvaco's arguments are repeatedly, calling one of the main arguments "a smokescreen, a red herring, a straw man," and later saying of Silvaco's argument: "strained is too small a word to describe Silvaco's argument." You can read the full decision here:
Separately, this ruling is getting extra attention from some lawyers because of the judicial smackdown the judge made concerning the rather wasteful decision to include excess information in the filings:
Although this case was decided largely on the pleadings, it has somehow generated an appendix over 8000 pages in length. Seldom have so many trees died for so little. We see three causes for this wretched excess....
It then goes on to detail three different bad choices made by the lawyers which made the filings so ridiculously large. Basically, the lawyers seemed to throw in all sorts of things that weren't necessary, and which the judges could have easily been pointed to that information to retrieve on their own.

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  1. icon
    Slot Bonus Guy (profile), 9 May 2010 @ 8:20am

    In Compiled Source Code

    I thought the whole idea of compiling code was that you could not reverse engineer it. I guess that's why I'm not a prgrammer - what a tough and potentially BORING job (almost as bad as my old job - accounting). At lease I'm not a lawyer!

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