A federal jury has ordered Ford to pay Versata Software a total of $104.6 million in damages for its improper use of the software company’s product. The ruling will see the automaker pay $82.2 million for breaching its contract with Versata and $22.4 million for trade secret misappropriation.
The ruling follows a 15-day trial that took place in Detroit, in which Ford was accused of attempting to get out of paying licensing fees by simply copying Versata’s software.
The automaker worked with the company from 1998 until 2015 during which time its engineering and marketing agents received Versata’s help to design vehicles with “seamless real time updates” worldwide, according to Reuters.
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Versata, though, said that when Ford got fed up with paying it millions of dollars in annual licensing fees, it simply copied its technology and stopped paying it for its product. Indeed, in the case it emerged that, in 2014, Ford rejected a “final” offer to license Versata’s software for $17 million per year.
Ford, in a statement, expressed its displeasure with the jury’s decision. Although it says it respects the decision, it “believes the facts and the law do not support this outcome.” It added that it will appeal the verdict.
Dan Webb, a partner at Winston & Strawn, which represented Versata in the case, described the result as a “favorable verdict, and we’re very pleased.” Despite that, the jury only awarded the company about 85 percent of what it sought after Ford’s initial defense, that it owned Versata’s trade secrets, was deemed “phony” by Webb.
The case was started in 2015 by Ford as it looked to receive a court order stating that it did not infringe on Versata’s intellectual property.