Action hopes to prevent the giant software maker from selling version 5 of GroupWise, Novell's market-leading corporate messaging software, until the suit is decided in court.
Alameda, California-based software developer Action said today that it expects a ruling by the first quarter.
Last week, a U.S. district court judge for the Northern District of California denied Novell's motion to dismiss the case. Instead, it granted Action Technologies' motion for a summary judgment and found certain functions of an earlier version of the groupware, GroupWise 4.1, may violate an Action patent.
Action holds a patent dated June 1, 1993 for messaging systems, calendars, and Internet deployment technologies that it expects to bundle into one package and release to market sometime next year.
The legal action dates back to November 1995, nearly a year before Novell launched version 5 of GroupWise. Nevertheless, Action Technologies maintains Novell incorporated some of Action's technology in the version, thereby opening it up to injunction.
A Novell spokeswoman told CNET last week that the company denies that it has infringed upon Action Technology's patent infringement. Novell maintains that Action's patent is for public domain technology and therefore invalid, since public technology can't be patented.
Yet Terry McGowan, Action Technology's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement today that Novell has extended its patent infringement to GroupWise 5 in an effort to enhance its Internet offerings and keep up with competition from groupware products like Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Netscape Communicator.
"Novell has consciously extended the use of the infringing technology from an arena in which Action has historically granted licenses for use of the technology, to an arena in which they compete directly with our core business," McGowan said.