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Court finds World Programming Ltd. Infringed on SAS Copyrights; refers case to European Court of Justice

WPL claim of “High Court victory” is false

LONDON, UK  (Jul. 23, 2010)  –  Today the High Court of Justice handed down a ruling that World Programming Ltd. (WPL) infringed software developer SAS Institute Inc.’s copyright in its SAS® documentation. The court also found that WPL acted outside the scope of its license agreement for SAS Learning Edition software by using that product to develop WPL’s World Programming System (WPS) software.  The court referred questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for clarification on whether such use was permitted. 

In the case, SAS alleged that WPL violated several SAS copyrights by copying SAS manuals and source code. The court found that the manual for WPL’s WPS software infringed the copyright in the SAS manuals. In order to resolve the question of whether the WPS software itself infringed SAS copyrights, the court has referred several questions of copyright law to the ECJ.

SAS General Counsel John Boswell said, “WPL issued a press release contending that they ‘secured a major legal victory’ in this case. This announcement was surprising in that the decisions the court handed down were related to the violation of SAS’ copyright on its manuals. Other decisions have not been made. They raise uncertain questions of law and have therefore been referred to the ECJ. We feel compelled to address the inaccuracies in the news release issued by WPL.”

Boswell added, “SAS invests hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development every year. Protecting the intellectual property created by the dedicated and talented employees of SAS is of paramount importance.  We will vigorously pursue the remaining issues in this case and look forward to getting clarification from the ECJ.”

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