U.S. Court of Appeals upholds WPL liability for breaching SAS® software license

WPL must pay SAS more than $79 million in damages for contract breach, fraud, and Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a North Carolina district court judgment finding World Programming Ltd. (WPL) liable for fraud and breach of a software license against SAS, the leader in analytics. In addition, the appeals court ruling affirmed that WPL violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which mandates the award of trebled damages to SAS, with the cumulative judgment against WPL totaling more than $79 million.

“Our legal system continues to validate the fact that WPL has been engaging in unfair and illegal acts,” said John Boswell, Chief Legal Counsel for SAS. “By doing so, it has continued to place itself, and its customers, in an untenable position. While WPL has been trying to avoid the consequences of its actions, SAS has continued to deliver innovative solutions to its customers and partners in a good and ethical way – as we have for more than 40 years. We are a trusted and stable entity, and our primary focus will always be on putting our customers first.”

In October 2015, a federal jury awarded SAS $26.4 million in damages when it found that WPL violated the software license for the SAS® Learning Edition by reverse engineering portions of that product in order to create its World Programming System software (WPS), as well as using SAS Learning Edition for prohibited production purposes. The trebling (or tripling) of the $26.4 million results in a total judgment of more than $79 million.

The Court of Appeals also vacated WPL’s earlier summary judgment win related to infringement of SAS’s copyrights, meaning that the material WPL copied may indeed be covered by SAS’s copyrights.

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