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April 24, 2024

Cribl Wins Fair Use Case in Splunk Lawsuit, Ensuring Continued Interoperability

SAN FRANCISCO, April 24, 2024 — In a victory for innovation, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has ruled that Cribl’s use of Splunk’s Enterprise software for the purpose of reverse engineering the Splunk to Splunk (S2S) protocol is lawful fair use under US copyright laws. The Court also ruled that Cribl’s use of Splunk’s Enterprise software for the purpose of testing and troubleshooting Cribl’s S2S integration with Splunk Enterprise is also fair use.

In doing so, the Court affirms the lawfulness under the Copyright Act of building interoperable products in the tech industry and protects the ability for different software programs to work together to bring innovative products to market.

Certain other claims in Splunk’s lawsuit against Cribl were dismissed, including alleged violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and tortious interference with prospective business relations. Over a year ago, the Court had also found Splunk’s asserted patents invalid as unpatentable. The jury awarded Splunk $1 for Cribl’s use of Splunk Enterprise for other residual uses in violation of the Splunk General Terms and underlying copyright. The Court will rule on the remaining equitable claims and defenses in post-trial briefing.

“Interoperability is the bedrock of tech and this ruling reinforces that using another product to ensure interoperability is a legitimate application of fair use. This is great news not just for Cribl, but for the tech industry at large,” said Clint Sharp, co-founder and CEO at Cribl. “We are incredibly grateful for the time and attention of the Court and jurors in determining this important outcome. Our mission is to empower customers with choice for their data and this ruling makes certain that customers can continue to take control of their data in the tools that best suit their needs, today and in the future.”

This decision provides additional legal certainty to the common practice in the software industry of using copyrighted software to build interoperable features and products. Critical for the industry, reverse engineering once again is affirmed by the Court as fair use under copyright law, including reverse engineering communication protocols.

“Cribl Stream will continue to be interoperable with Splunk Enterprise. With this distraction behind us, we look forward to continuing to deliver value to our customers through building innovative products. With this behind us, we would welcome the chance to renew our partnership with Splunk, a great company with products our joint customers love,” said Sharp.

About Cribl

Cribl, the Data Engine for IT and Security, empowers organizations to transform their data strategy. Customers use Cribl’s vendor-agnostic solutions to analyze, collect, process, and route all IT and security data from any source or to any destination, delivering the choice, control, and flexibility required to adapt to their ever-changing needs. Cribl’s product suite, which is used by Fortune 1000 companies globally, is purpose-built for IT and Security, including Cribl Stream, the industry’s leading observability pipeline, Cribl Edge, an intelligent vendor-neutral agent, Cribl Search, the industry’s first search-in-place solution, and Cribl Lake, a turnkey data lake. Founded in 2018, Cribl is a remote-first workforce with an office in San Francisco.

Source: Cribl