Splunk Files Intellectual Property Complaint Against Cribl

Splunk was founded on the principle of removing barriers between data and action, and one of the company’s primary goals is to empower Splunk’s customers and partners to transform their organizations with data. As a responsible and ethical company, we take very seriously our responsibility to protect our intellectual property while also respecting the intellectual property rights of others.  

Today, we filed an intellectual property infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Cribl for, among other things, misappropriating and misusing Splunk source code and confidential technical and business documents, as well as willfully infringing other Splunk intellectual property. You can find a press release about the case here.

Our complaint asserts that Cribl illegitimately built its business through the misappropriation and unlawful use of Splunk’s proprietary intellectual property. Since Cribl launched its first product, developed using code that was unlawfully taken from Splunk, Cribl has engaged in a calculated campaign to undermine Splunk and compete unfairly against us in the market. As described in our complaint, Cribl has also improperly solicited important technical and business documents from departing Splunk employees and then used those documents to further develop its software and interfere with our customer relationships. Mr. Sharp actively participated in this effort, recruiting Splunk employees to join Cribl and encouraging them to bring Splunk confidential material with them. In addition, Cribl has used Splunk’s copyrighted software in conjunction with its software development work and marketing, despite having no license to do so. The software that Cribl markets to its customers infringes numerous Splunk patents, despite Cribl’s awareness of our patents.

We are not a litigious company by nature, and we did not take this action lightly. We first attempted to resolve our issues with Cribl privately. Unfortunately, Cribl’s refusal to act ethically, its willful disregard of intellectual property rights, and its coordinated campaign of misappropriation left Splunk no choice but to file a lawsuit as a last resort to right a wrong and protect the intellectual property that our customers rely on every day to manage their most critical security and observability needs.

This case is about Cribl’s misconduct. Splunk is not changing how it works with customers and partners, and looks forward to continuing to help them leverage Splunk to drive great insights and effective results. While we have asked the Court to require Cribl to stop using Splunk’s intellectual property and to fairly compensate Splunk, we have not asked the Court to shut Cribl down nor are we blocking interoperability with Cribl.

Splunk has long been a pioneer and leader in the data platform industry, as evidenced by the well over 1,000 U.S. patents we have been granted. Our foundational innovations define Splunk’s reputation and brand, and we remain committed to taking the appropriate and necessary steps to protect them for the benefit of all our stakeholders.


1. What was announced?

  • Splunk filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Cribl asserting patent infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition, and other claims.
  • The complaint asserts that Cribl has unlawfully misappropriated and misused Splunk source code and is infringing Splunk’s intellectual property, including Splunk’s patents. 

2. What is Splunk’s relationship with Cribl? With Clint Sharp?

  • Splunk and Cribl used to be partners. Specifically, after launching its first product, Cribl joined Splunk’s Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program, which enables partners to build on top of Splunk’s Enterprise platform to improve the ecosystem for customers, partners, and all other stakeholders.
  • In 2021, Cribl’s actions led Splunk to terminate its TAP membership.
  • Clint Sharp is a former senior leader in Splunk’s Product Management team who worked at Splunk for five years before starting Cribl. Splunk’s complaint asserts that before leaving Splunk, he copied Splunk’s proprietary and confidential source code, which he brought to Cribl. 
  • Litigation is never the first option for Splunk. Splunk is disappointed that Cribl’s behavior and wrongdoing have left Splunk no choice but to file a complaint. 

3. What can customers and partners expect while this is being litigated? To what extent will this litigation impact the business and the products/services Splunk offers?

  • Splunk is not changing how it works with customers and partners.
  • Splunk is not asking the Court to shut Cribl down.
  • Splunk is not blocking interoperability with Cribl.
  • Splunk is asking the Court to require Cribl to stop using Splunk’s intellectual property and to fairly compensate Splunk. 
  • Splunk remains focused on supporting its customers and partners, and looks forward to continuing to work with its customers to help them leverage Splunk to drive great insights and effective results.

4. What happens next?

  • Filing the complaint is the first step of this process, and Splunk and Cribl will next make their cases in court.
  • Splunk is confident that the judicial process will determine that Cribl has infringed and misappropriated Splunk intellectual property.

5. Where can I find additional information?

  • For additional information regarding Splunk’s legal actions against Cribl, please read the press release.
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