Entrust sues Corel over security tools in WordPerfect

Security vendor Entrust Inc. Wednesday said it has filed a lawsuit against Corel Corp., alleging that the Ottawa company is illegally bundling its products in with WordPerfect software.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in a Virginia court, claims that Corel and its resellers are distributing Entrust’s security technology without the proper authorization from Entrust.

Kevin Simzer, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer for Entrust, said the alleged breach lies within the company’s Entrust Ready program, which allows partners and OEMs to feature aspects of Entrust technology, like digital signatures and encryption, in their own products. This technology has to be “switched on” by Entrust, which involves a separate licence fee. Corel has bypassed this process, said Simzer.

More than 50 partners are part of the Entrust Ready program, including Microsoft, HP, Adobe and IBM.

“It doesn’t give you the right to distribute the software. The way we would make our money, is we would go in and sell the software that turns it on,” he said.

“There was a contract in place that would allow (Corel) to do an integration, but there was not a contract in place that would allow them to distribute our intellectual property.”

Entrust has been aware of Corel’s actions for about a year, said Simzer. It was brought to the company’s attention when users were calling Entrust’s help desk lines with questions about Corel software.

According to both parties, Corel and Entrust have been discussions for several months but failed to come to a resolution.

“We’re aware of their position,” said Corel spokesperson Gail Scibelli. “We disagree and we’ve made them aware of this particular situation. We regret they’ve decided to take this approach and we’re going to defend the suit quite vigorously.”

“Nobody wants to go down this path. In Corel’s defence and in ours, we just couldn’t come to amicable terms,” added Simzer.

Encryption and digital signature for personal documents is a growing market, said IDC Canada Ltd. analyst Joe Greene.

“You want to ensure that people who have should have access to certain documents get access,” he said. “If Corel is giving it away, I can see why Entrust would be annoyed. It will be undoubtedly a growing part of their revenue stream.”

Simzer said that Corel and Entrust have worked well together in the past. “We’ve had a long-standing, great relationship with Corel where the two companies have worked on a number of opportunities, in particular within the Canadian government,” he said.

Scibelli disagreed: “We have had no significant past business relationship with Entrust.”

Entrust is based in Dallas but also employs a staff of more than 350 people in Ottawa.

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