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Stocksak: Jury orders Ford To Pay $105 Million to Software Company In Trade Secrets Case


© Stocksak. FILEPHOTO: The Ford logo was pictured at 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Frankfurt, Germany, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Stocksak) – A federal jury in Detroit ordered Ford Motor (NYSE 🙂 Co. to pay Versata software Inc $104.6 million in damages. This was in response to Ford Motor’s 2004 licensing contract that was breached and misappropriating trade secret trade secrets.

After a 15-day trial, jurors deliberated for two days before finding Ford liable.

Versata, which is based in Austin Texas, stated that it licensed its automotive software from 1998 to Ford in 2015. This allowed Ford’s engineers and agents to collaborate on the design of vehicles with “seamless, real-time updates” around the world.

It stated that Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford copied its software after becoming weary of paying millions in annual licensing fees. Versata’s major software was licensed for $17 million per year in 2014.

Over $82.2 million was awarded by the jury for breach of contract. The remaining $22.4 millions were for trade secret misappropriation.

Ford stated in a statement that while Ford respects the decision of the jury, he believes the facts and law do not support it. Ford will appeal the verdict.

Versata’s lawyer Dan Webb, a partner at Winston & Strawn, said the jury awarded about 85% of what the company sought, after Ford raised what he characterized as a “phony” defense that it owned Versata’s trade secrets.

Webb stated in an interview that “it was a very positive verdict, and we are very pleased.”

The litigation started in April 2015 when Ford sought a court ruling that Versata’s intellectual properties were not infringed.

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

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