Feeds

Bill Gates' other company dinged for fraud

Battling the image beast

High performance access to file storage

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.