IBM is trying to prevent Platform Solutions (PSI) from selling computers that can mimic its mainframe, and its principal method is a lawsuit filed on November 29, 2006, alleging that PSI's product illegally uses IBM technology. IBM amended its complaint recently, adding assertions that PSI had misappropriated IBM trade secrets. PSI has struck back, asking a New York Federal Court to toss out these claims. The issue raises the stakes, because PSI's request for a ruling impugns IBM's reputation as a tough litigant but a fair player nonetheless.
IBM now has a different battle on its hands than the one it started in 2006. PSI might not be selling a compatible mainframes as long as IBM can frighten customers, but it does look like it has enough backing to keep up its courtroom battle.
While IBM's lawyers almost certainly have a basis on which to argue their interpretation of the law and facts in this matter, it remains to be seen how the court will treat this skirmish. Even if IBM can hold on here, early indications are that its grip on this case may not be as tight as it would wish.
June 11, 2008