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vBulletin abandons bid for injunction against ex-devs

Suit against XenForo continues in US, UK

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Updated Net forumware giant vBulletin has abandoned its bid for a preliminary injunction against its former lead developer and his new forumware company, the UK-based XenForo.

An injunction would have prevented XenForo from doing business prior to a trial.

According to a post from XenForo's US counsel Grace and Grace LLP, vBulletin withdrew its motion for a preliminary injunction a day before its employees were to be questioned under oath. The company refused to produce its witnesses and then had no choice but to abandon the case, the post said.

“I am pleased that vBulletin's attorneys recognized the lack of merit in vBulletin's motion and withdrew it before XenForo was forced to incur additional costs," read a statement from Michael Grace, of Grace and Grace.

With the suit, vBulletin and its parent company, Internet Brands, claims copyright infringement, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Kier Darby, the former vBulletin lead developer who founded XenForo after leaving the company, declined to discuss the case with The Register, saying he needed to consult his counsel first. Darby left vBulletin in 2009, roughly two years after it was taken over by Internet Brands. A year after that, he and two other ex-vBulletin employees –  Mike Sullivan and Ashley Busby – registered the XenForo domain.

In October of last year, just before the first XenForo beta was set to go on sale, vBulletin and Internet Brands filed suit in the UK against XenForo, Darby, Sullivan, and Busby. Then, a month later, it filed a similar suit in California.

In April, the U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California dismissed two vBulletin claims that XenForo and Darby had violated computer hacking-related provisions of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and California Penal Code. "I'm delighted that these two unfounded claims have been dismissed and cannot be refiled," read a statement Darby at the time.

"We look forward to the dismissal of the remaining claims and invite any person with access to the source code of both vBulletin and XenForo to compare the code and discover the manifest truth that the XenForo software was independently created and infringes none of vBulletin's rights. Neither the vBulletin Solutions lawsuit in California, nor its earlier duplicate counterpart in England, should ever have been filed."

XenForo's forumware is still available here. ®

Update: This story has been updated to show that vBulletin has abandoned its bid for a preliminary injunction against XenForo, not its entire case. Its cases against XenForo are still ongoing in both the US and the UK.

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