Ford pays software company $105 million in trade secrets case | Rare Techy


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Versata, based in Austin, Texas, announced that it has licensed its automotive software Ford from 1998 to 2015, helping automaker engineers and marketing agents collaborate and design vehicles with “seamless real-time innovation” worldwide.

It said Dearborn, Michigan Ford began copying its own software after growing tired of paying millions of dollars in annual licensing fees, and in 2014 rejected a “definitive” offer 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.

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

Versata attorney Dan Webb, a partner at Winston & Strawn, said the jury awarded about 85 percent of what the company requested. Ford raised what it described as 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 litigation began in April 2015 when Ford sought an injunction that it would not infringe Versata’s intellectual property.

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


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