Billions were at stake and armies of attorneys were poised for battle. But when the smoke finally cleared on Computer Associates v. Computer Sciences Corp., 98-1374 and 98-14440, neither side had gained any ground.

The multibillion-dollar tangle between New York’s Computer Associates International Inc. and El Segundo’s Computer Sciences Corp. called up the expertise of more than 60 attorneys from around the country only to end up looking like a courtroom re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme. Both sides sued. Both sides lost.