Symantec yesterday filed a suit against Microsoft. Filed in the Seattle district court yesterday, the suit refers to the Volume Manager Software technology owned by Symantec, and how they alleged that Microsoft has misappropriated the intellectual property rights for that technology. The company claims to have tried to deal with this disagreement through simple negotiation, avoiding legal action, but that Microsoft has consistently failed to work with them for an adequate solution. A sought court order would prohibit Microsoft from distribution or sale of any products that utilised this technology.

Microsoft responded: "We worked hard to resolve these issues with Symantec, but were not able to reach an agreement. We believe the facts will show that Microsoft's actions were proper and are fully consistent with the contract between Veritas and Microsoft." A spokesman said the dispute was based on a "very narrow" aspect of the 1996 deal.
The technology that Symantec refers to is due to be incorporated into Vista, the next version of Windows, where it is used to handle storage of large amounts of data on discs. At the centre of the case is an issue whereby Microsoft first entered into a contract with Veritas in 1996 to license volume management technology, and had the option to buyout the rights to Veritas’ code and intellectual property rights, which it did in 2004. Symantec contends, however, that Microsoft has since rewritten the volume management software for its next version of Windows in ways that were not allowed under the original agreement. Symantec Corp. and Veritas Software merged on July 5, 2005.

This case has the potential to further delay Vista from being released.