For years, the US Department of Defence had used unlicensed copies of logistics software
The US government has chosen to settle a lawsuit in which the US Department of Defence (DoD) was accused of infringing copyright of Texas software developer Apptricity.
According to Dallas News, the Army paid for just a fraction of copies of asset management and EPR software it deployed worldwide over a period of eight years. The government has agreed to settle for $50 million, and will continue its business with the company.
Dead to rights
In 2004, Apptricity, which employs just 80 people, agreed a $5 million licensing deal with the DoD that would put its logistics software on three servers and 150 workstation used by the US Army.
The agreement had been brokered by CSC, a major supplier to the US government. “We were up against the big names in the enterprise software industry, the major firms like Oracle and PeopleSoft. Then they made the decision to go with our solution,” explained president and co-founder of Apptricity Tim Garcia.
The deal was later extended to include five servers and several thousand workstations. The software had been used during military operations in the Middle East, as well as natural disaster response efforts.
In 2009, it turned out that the DoD secretly copied the software to 98 severs and at least 10,000 devices. These deployments were discovered accidentally during Strategic Capabilities Planning meeting, when one of the high-ranking officials mentioned the widespread adoption of Apptricity software.
In the lawsuit, the company said that the DoD wilfully infringed Apptricity’s copyright, and demanded nearly $250 million in unpaid fees. The company did not ask for damages, despite its belief that its customer actively concealed the number of copies in use.
“After Alternative Dispute Resolution proceedings, the parties agreed to settle for $50 million. The figure represents a fraction of the software’s negotiated contract value that provides a material quantity of server and device licenses for ongoing and future Department of Defence usage,” said Apptricity.
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