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Software company sues Oracle in patent dispute

Timeline, which is also involved in litigation with Microsoft and Sagent Technologies, files a lawsuit seeking damages and an injunction for alleged patent infringement.

    Business software maker Timeline today said it has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking damages and an injunction against Oracle for alleged infringement of Timeline's U.S. patents.

    Timeline contends Oracle has developed products using technology similar to its patented database analytical software. The patented application in dispute converts one or more data stores into one or more databases, then organizes and manages the data into categories.

    Oracle, based in Redwood City, Calif., would not comment on the lawsuit.

    The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

    Timeline is currently involved in litigation with Microsoft and Sagent Technologies about the same patents. The two companies are trying to force Timeline to give them a sub-license for the patented technology, Timeline executives said.

    By sublicensing the patent, Microsoft and Sagent would be able to extend to their customers the right to create products with Timeline's technology.

    The Microsoft case is set for trial this December. Timeline's suit against Sagent, which alleges patent infringement and seeks to enjoin distribution of certain Sagent products, is scheduled to be tried in January 2001.

    "The intellectual properties represented in its various U.S. patents are of great importance to Timeline. Oracle has made substantial product offerings which, we believe, infringe Timeline's patent rights," said Timeline CEO Charles R. Osenbaugh. He did not identify which Oracle products were at issue in the lawsuit.

    Timeline, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., develops Microsoft Windows-based financial analytical software.