Wednesday 18 November 2009

NOTE: SAS Take World Programming to Court

I noticed a recent press release from SAS stating that they have "filed a lawsuit in the High Court in London against World Programming Ltd for breach of license and copyright infringement relating to the use of SAS® Learning Edition to develop and test its World Programming System software."

World Programming System is a SAS work-alike that offers a cheaper alternative to the licensing of SAS/BASE and other specific modules. It's interesting to note that SAS's case is centred around the mis-use of a SAS/LE license rather than the simple fact that WPS duplicates SAS's language. However, languages cannot be protected in law, so SAS cannot obtain copyright on the SAS language. Hence, it is vulnerable to (cheaper) providers of similar functionality, such as WPS.

World Programming Ltd says the claim has no merit and that they will defend their position. Based in Hampshire in the UK, in close vicinity to one of IBM's offices, the World Programming Ltd web site offers direct sales but no marketing partners. However, they are shown in the IBM PartnerWorld catalog as Advanced Partners. And Minequest offers indicative pricing for the product.

It'll be interesting to see how this case develops and to see if it has any subsequent impact on other tools that use or interpret the SAS language in one way or another, such as Carolina (converts SAS to Java) and ASAP (automatically produces data flow and process flow diagrams of SAS code).