ford: Jury orders Ford to pay software company $105 million in trade secrets case | Rare Techy


A federal jury in Detroit ordered Ford Motor Co. to pay Versata Software Inc. $104.6 million in damages for breaching a 2004 license agreement and misappropriating trade secrets.

Jurors deliberated for two days before finding Ford guilty Wednesday after a 15-day trial.

Austin, Texas-based Versata said it licensed its automotive software to Ford from 1998 to 2015, helping the automaker’s engineers and marketing agents collaborate and design vehicles with “seamless real-time updates” worldwide.

He said the Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford began copying its software after it grew tired of paying millions of dollars in annual licensing fees and rejected a “definitive” offer in 2014 to license Versata’s core software for $17 million a year.

More than $82.2 million of the jury award was for breach of contract, with the remaining $22.4 million for trade secret misappropriation.

“While we respect the jury’s decision, we believe the facts and law do not support this result,” Ford said in a statement. “Ford will appeal the verdict.”

Versata attorney Dan Webb, a partner at Winston & Strawn, said the jury awarded about 85% of the company’s demands after Ford asserted what he called a “bogus” defense that it owned Versata’s trade secrets.

“It was a very favorable decision and we’re very pleased,” Webb said in an interview Thursday.

The lawsuit began in April 2015 when Ford sought a ruling that it did not infringe on the Versata’s intellectual property.

The case is Versata Software Inc et al v Ford Motor Co, US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, No. 15-10628.


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