Ford Ordered to Pay Millions for Allegedly Stealing Software

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Ford has apparently been share secrets. And now, after a 15-day trial, a judge and jury have ordered the Detroit automaker to pay $104.6 million in damages for “breaching a 2004 licensing contract and misappropriating trade secrets,” to an Austin, Texas-based software company, as reported Automotive News.

Back in the late 1990s, Ford entered into a contract with Versata, a software company that licensed its software to Ford for over 17 years. According to the company, its software allowed Ford’s engineers and marketing reps work together on things like vehicle design, internationally. The main feature of the software was the ability to have real-time, seamless updates.

The contract held Ford to paying yearly licensing fees in the millions. But according to Versata, Ford had apparently copied Versata’s software and moved forward with ending its contract with the software company. That 2014 offer for licensing was $17 million annually.

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

The jury-awarded Versata $104.6 million in damages included $82.2 million for breaching the contract, $59.9 million for damaging trade secrets, and $22.4 million for trade secret misappropriation. Or rather that the trade secret (the software) was taken or disclosed without Versata’s consent.