Software Company Goes After
Ford Motors for Patent Infringement

IP News and Information

Ford Motor Company is known for a lot of things, but software development probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Ford. However the automaker, known for its many different trucks, SUVs and cars, is in the middle of a heated intellectual property debate with a Texas-based software company. The company, Versata Inc., claims that the country’s largest automaker stole many of its trade secrets and that the car company is still infringing its patents. So what’s behind the lawsuit and how is Ford taking the litigation? As you might expect, the automaker is not taking it lying down.

Expired Agreement Leads to Infringement Claim

According to court documents, Versata claims that it started to share secrets with the automaker way back in 1998. The secrets were related to software that the company had developed that was to be used in the design and configuration of product lines for motor vehicles. According to the software company, the secrets it shared were covered by several licensing agreements that indicated that Versata or a predecessor company would retain “all rights in perpetuity to its proprietary technology.” However, according to Versata, Ford began designing and developing its own version of the company’s software by using reverse engineering. Versata has also accused Ford of illegally distributing its proprietary information to unauthorized users.

Ford Files Suit as Well

The company claims that they had licensing agreements in place with Ford, but that those agreements expired in 2014. After negotiations to renew those licenses proved unsuccessful, Versata decided to end the agreement. Ford has not taken the charges lightly and it filed a countersuit earlier this year to ask a judge to declare that the automaker was not infringing Versata’s IP rights. Ford claims that it developed the software in conjunction with Versata and that Versata said that the software they developed together was “obsolete.” The automaker also claims that its company’s own engineers developed their new software without Versata’s help.

Not So Says Versata

For its part, Versata claims that it has yet to see the details of that lawsuit, and it also claims that the software Ford developed is infringing 15 different patents owned by the software maker. Versata has asked the court to put a stop to Ford’s alleged unauthorized use of its IP rights and the company is also seeking monetary damages, the amount of which was not disclosed. These two cases will be interesting to watch and see how they play out, especially since both companies claim to have developed their own software technology. The court’s decision could very likely come down to the patents that both companies have been issued.

Intellectual Property Is Valuable

This situation shows that intellectual property can be very valuable and that protecting it is still an important part of that value. Likewise, licensing IP is a great way to bring in additional revenue to a company’s bottom line. IPTrader can help you license your IP. As an IP broker we help find buyers and licensees who are looking to add their IP portfolios. Therefore, we can help profit from your IP. Please contact us today by filling out the form below.