Attachmate Customers Should Prepare for Audit Demands

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Businesses deploying software published by Attachmate Corporation should strongly consider making an effort now to review their license-compliance status. Attachmate is a major player in markets for various IT-infrastructure software solutions, and it has demonstrated its willingness to pursue litigation in support of its copyright-enforcement interests. For example, in April 2008, Attachmate pursued and reached a $1.1 million settlement with the State of Montana after an audit revealed unlicensed software use on state-owned computers.

In addition, Attachmate currently is in the midst of pursuing a $2.2 billion acquisition of Novell, Inc., but that transaction has stalled out recently due to a protracted patent review being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice. The review is part of the government’s due-diligence efforts surrounding the required sale (for antitrust purposes) of 882 patents to a Microsoft-led consortium of competing vendors. As a result, many observers see an increasing likelihood of audit activity going forward – it is not uncommon for software publishers to try to increase revenue through license-enforcement activities. In addition, Novell software is widely deployed throughout many businesses’ IT environments, resulting in what Attachmate’s compliance department likely is expecting to be a fertile hunting ground for software audits.

Attachmate customers should use any distraction of Attachmate’s legal department to their advantage and take steps now to ensure that their software usage-levels do not exceed their license rights. Compliance gaps typically are much easier and less expensive to remedy before a software owner makes first contact regarding an audit, the efficient resolution of which often involves the assistance of counsel.