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A federal magistrate has ordered IBM Corp. to reimburse software maker Compuware Corp. for costs relating to evidence that IBM produced only three months before Compuware’s lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial. Magistrate Wallace Capel Jr. also canceled the Nov. 8 trial date, saying the case will not be heard before February. In a statement Monday, Compuware hailed Capel’s Sept. 15 order as a victory. In August, Detroit-based Compuware accused IBM of attempting to “sandbag it” after IBM came forward with source code that could serve as critical evidence in the case. IBM officials previously testified that the code could not be found. Compuware sued IBM in March 2002 for unspecified damages, claiming IBM had copied its software products and was reselling them under the IBM nameplate. A second Compuware suit filed in July 2002 said IBM used its dominance in the market to undercut competitors on software prices. Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has denied the charges and filed six counterclaims of patent infringement on its software by Compuware. After IBM came up with the source code in August, Compuware filed a motion requesting a default judgment in the case or that the source code not be allowed as evidence at trial. Capel denied those requests, but required IBM to reimburse Compuware for additional expenses related to the new evidence, including new depositions and expert analysis. Compuware said it had no estimate how much those costs would be. “I’m glad that the court saw through IBM’s gamesmanship and attempt to saddle Compuware with additional costs and burdens,” Thomas M. Costello, Jr., Compuware’s general counsel, said in the statement. “We have a very strong case, and we are anxious for a jury to hear our claims.” IBM spokesman Tim Breuer said the source code that IBM produced shows that it is innocent. He said the smaller company was now “flailing around, looking for an alternative strategy.” “It’s remarkable that Compuware put out a press release 26 days after an open court hearing to paint a misleading impression of the issues in this case,” Breuer said. “Compuware has these materials and knows that they support IBM’s innocence in this case. It’s unfortunate that Compuware has apparently decided to try this case in the press before it even begins.” Although Capel’s order was issued Sept. 15, he told the parties how he was ruling in a Sept. 1 hearing. Compuware spokeswoman Lisa Elkin said the company waited to prepare a statement until they received the order on Sept. 22. Compuware’s shares rose 4 cents to close at $4.67 Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. IBM’s shares fell 27 cents to close at $84.16 on the New York Stock Exchange. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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