Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to point out that two different suits were involved in the dispute between WPL and SAS. The first represented a 2017 ruling that resulted in a $79 million award to SAS for breach of contract and fraud, and also the injunction. The suit later was resolved when another company, Altair, bought WPL, and paid off the balance of the judgment and the related injunction was lifted. The latest ruling is the result of a 2020 case. 


CARY – SAS has suffered alegal setback in a copyright lawsuit with a U.K.-based firm that dates back over a decade. What happens now in the battle between World Programming Ltd. and the Cary-based global software firm is unclear.

“SAS is disappointed by the court’s recent decision, and we are currently weighing options on how to proceed,” Shannon Heath, director of corporate communications at SAS, tells WRAL TechWire.

The latest setback came last week in a federal court in Texas which ruled that that a lower court had “wrongly forced it to identify the protectable elements of software it says World Programming Ltd. infringed,” according to Bloomberg News.

The decision came 15 months after a hearing on the matter. Bloomberg reported that World Programming had demonstrated a “substantial portion” of what SAS said was protected by copyright was not protectable.

In October 2020 WPL proclaimed victory in a legal fight that dates back to 2009.

“SAS is disappointed in the recent copyright decision against SAS, and intends to appeal it,” Heath told WRAL TechWire at the time.

In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a North Carolina district court judgment finding World Programming Ltd. liable for fraud and breach of a software license against Cary-based SAS, the leader in analytics.

In 2020, a judge “dismissed” a “set of copyright infringement claims.”

SAS: No surrender in $79M lawsuit against World Programming Ltd.