Feeds

Bill Gates' other company dinged for fraud

Battling the image beast

The essential guide to IT transformation

Seattle-based software company Infoflows has been awarded $20m in damages by a US Court, ending a three year dispute with Corbis. The judge decided that Corbis illegally stole Infoflows' intellectual property - its software.

The names may not immediately mean much to you. But Corbis was founded in 1989 by William Henry Gates III - founder of Microsoft - who is the largest shareholder in the privately-owned company. Infoflows is a small Washington state company founded by former Microsoft product manager Steve Stone six years ago.

Corbis is No.2 in the stock photo market behind Getty Images, having acquired the Bettman Archive and rights to digital reproductions of several museums and galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery.

Infoflows had developed a license management system for digital assets, including images, called JazzSpider. The startup signed a license agreement with Corbis, and in December 2005 sent Corbis a PowerPoint™ slide of how the JazzSpider software worked. In June the following year, a licensing agreement between the two was signed.

Infoflows then discovered that Corbis was patenting its own system based on what Infoflows saw as its own IP. The agreement was terminated after four months, and in January 2007, Corbis sued Infoflows for breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation. Infoflows countersued claiming several charges of fraud.

A jury in November agreed with Infoflows and awarded $16m in damages. In February this rose to $19m, plus interests. The jury also awarded costs against Corbis. The judgement had a sting, for it required Corbis to turn over any work similar to Infoflows' JazzSpider.

Yet Infloflows executives have had to drain their life savings to fight the giant. Fashionable opinion doesn't care much for intellectual property for software, but the case surely illustrates its value.

You never know when you might need it. It might even protect you from Bill Gates. ®

Related link

Infoflows Court Documents

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?