The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, California, yesterday, charges that McAfee's PC Medic program includes a critical section of code that is identical to Symantec's CrashGuard product, according to a statement issued by Symantec. Both programs are used to restore PC data in the event of a crash.
McAfee representatives were not immediately available to comment on the charges.
Symantec has asked the court to order a recall of the McAfee product and enjoin the company from shipping additional copies of the software. It also seeks damages that include all of McAfee's profits from PC Medic sales. The product was introduced about one month ago.
Symantec's CrashGuard program began shipping last fall, and about 500,000 copies have been sold since then, the company said.
The lawsuit alleges that McAfee "knowingly stole" the patent-pending code from its competitor in the cutthroat market for software utilities programs. Symantec said the alleged copyright infringement was documented in an independent analysis of the two programs conducted by the software development and consulting firm Thuridion.