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CyberMedia scores partial victory over Symantec

Quite a few smoking guns lying around

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Symantec has been ordered by a federal judge in San Jose to issue a "notice of recall" of Norton's Uninstaller Deluxe because of allegations that it contains code from CyberMedia's UnInstaller. It is not yet a full victory for CyberMedia because the alleged copyright infringement has to be proved at trial. In February, CyberMedia sued Symantec, claiming that "parts of the program are copied verbatim". It's a complicated story, but MicroHelp developed an early version of UnInstaller that was then bought by CyberMedia. Three MicroHelp employees formed another company, ZebraSoft, which developed Symantec's UnInstaller Deluxe. The smoking guns in the case are interesting. One help file in the Symantec product says that "Advice tabs are green" -- but only CyberMedia's product has advice tabs. In addition, a DLL file has a MicroHelp copyright statement, according to CyberMedia's Lisa Stein. Gordon Eubanks, CEO of Symantec, said that Symantec is indemnified by ZebraSoft. Symantec had removed the disputed code and developed a clean-room version that is now incorporated. CyberMedia is in the process of being taken over by Network Associates for $130 million -- and Network General and McAfee Associates merged earlier this year to form Network Associates. The story would be even more contorted had the litigious McAfee Associates not dropped its defamation suit against Symantec in January. ®

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