All copyright and patent infringement claims dismissed or withdrawn in Texas, the latest chapter in 11 years of multi-jurisdictional litigation.

Keystone Law’s Intellectual Property partners Alexander Carter-Silk and Claire Blewett have successfully advised the analytics software developer and services provider World Programming on the third set of copyright infringement claims brought against it by one of the world’s largest privately owned software companies, SAS Institute. World Programming is SAS Institute’s only direct competitor, fuelling this decade-long dispute.

On Monday 26 October, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas dismissed, with prejudice, SAS Institute’s latest copyright infringement claims against World Programming. SAS Institute had previously confirmed to the Court that it had voluntarily withdrawn all other claims, alleging patent infringement, against World Programming.

The proceedings brought by SAS Institute in the Eastern District of Texas in 2018 alleged, for the third time, that World Programming’s software infringed SAS Institute’s copyright in its SAS System software. Judge Gilstrap, widely regarded as the leading judge in high-tech intellectual property cases in the US, dismissed SAS Institute’s copyright claims following a copyrightability hearing on the grounds that SAS Institute assertions failed to identify a single copyrightable element alleged to have been copied. Gilstrap’s decision is reminiscent of previous decisions by a court in North Carolina and the English courts that World Programming’s software is lawful and that SAS Institute has failed to identify any infringement of copyright in its software.

Noted to be one of the most important software copyright cases of the last 20 years, World Programming Limited v SAS Institute Inc. is a leading authority in both England and the US.

This week’s decision of the Texas Court is the latest chapter in Alexander and Claire’s representation of, and support for, World Programming, which began in September 2009 when SAS Institute brought its first infringement claim against World Programming in England. It really is a David and Goliath story, and World Programming was only able to defend itself during the first few years of the litigation with the support of its insurers, whom Alexander and Claire also advised.

Alexander and Claire have advised World Programming throughout every step of its journey in defending SAS Institute’s relentless attack, including two English High Court trials, two appeals to the English Court of Appeal, two petitions to the English Supreme Court, a US District Court trial, two appeals to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and two petitions to the US Supreme Court, in addition to the recent proceedings in Texas.

Oliver Robinson, CEO of World Programming, said:

We have received consistently outstanding legal advice and support from Claire and Alex over the eleven years spanning the dispute, working with their exceptional US counterparts to deal with many difficult and, at times, very unfair situations. Over recent years, including in respect of the Texas proceedings and cross-jurisdictional strategy, Claire has taken the lead, facing an unremitting stream of novel legal challenges. All at World Programming rely on and are so appreciative of the work Claire and Alex do.”

Claire Blewett, who also acts as general legal counsel for World Programming, said:

This latest judicial decision, consistently with those that preceded it, properly recognises that World Programming’s software has been lawfully created. I hope that World Programming can now begin to enjoy the real fruits of its exceptionally dedicated and talented team whose software should be allowed to flourish rather than face any more unsubstantiated allegations of copyright infringement.”