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IBM Seeks Injunction Against LzLabs for Alleged IP Violations

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Wed, 03/23/2022 - 09:18

Citing the repeated infringement of company patents, the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) seeks to secure an injunction against Switzerland-based LzLabs from a US District Court in Texas. It is unclear as of now if the added international component of the case will complicate the judicial process, highlighting the increasingly common intersection of private international law and intellectual property (IP) law.

This is the second time IBM faces off against US tech entrepreneur John Moores, who IBM asserts owns LzLabs. In 2011, a US federal judge effectively barred Moores’ company, Neon Enterprise Software LLC, from distributing software products similar to IBM’s. This new lawsuit makes reference to the 2011 case, with IBM arguing that Moores established LzLabs as a shell company to continue “free-riding” from IBMs mainframe technology.

In a press release, IBM outlined six patent infringements, including:

  • Two that describe methods embodied in IBM mainframe instructions that LzLabs must emulate with or translate into Intel x86 instructions,
  • Two that describe methods of increasing emulation/translation efficiency that LzLabs must implement if it is to achieve optimized performance objectives; and
  • One that describes a method related to the translation of IBM mainframe applications wherein IBM programs called by those applications are identified and an x86 substituted for each.

In addition to the violation of IBMs intellectual property rights, the company also asserts that LzLabs “deliberately misappropriated IBM trade secrets by reverse engineering, reverse compiling and translating IBM software.” Furthermore, IBM also accuses LzLabs of fabricating false and misleading claims about LzLabs’ products, referencing its self-advertisement as “functionally equivalent” to IBM’s. LzLabs, nor its representatives, has not responded to IBMs allegations as of this writing.

While LzLabs is based in Switzerland, it is owned by some of the same individuals who previously owned and ran Neon Enterprise Software LLC in Austin, Texas. In other words, it may be possible for IBM to receive another injunction in its favor despite LzLabs being based abroad. However, if LzLabs is able to successfully push this case abroad to Switzerland, IBM will have to pivot and rely on Swizz IP laws for protection given that there are no such thing as international IP laws that can be reinforced.

It is yet to be seen how LzLabs responds to the allegations. Nevertheless, it highlights the frequent intersection of private international law and international law brought upon by greater globalization.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
IBM, World Intellectual Property Organization
Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst