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Gates' Corbis busted again for fraud

Infoflows wins US$12m in damages, Gates still mad

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Corbis, the digital stock photo company founded by Bill Gates in 1989, remains embroiled in a protracted fraud case instigated by Seattle based Infoflows.

In the latest instalment Corbis has been ordered to fork out US$12.75 million in damages by the Washington State Court of Appeals as part of the three-year fraud and breach of contract case. The legal tangle has been going on since 2007 in a matter that alleges Corbis stole trade secrets.

Infoflows provides software that monitors licensed digital content, and it previously developed tech for Corbis.

According to the claim by Infoflows, Corbis abruptly terminated the contract after four months and claimed ownership of the technology. Infoflows then discovered that Corbis was patenting its own system based on what Infoflows saw as its own IP. In January 2007, Corbis sued Infoflows for breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation. Infoflows countersued claiming several charges of fraud.

Corbis was originally ordered to pay $36 million in damages but appealed the decision.

“We are pleased that the court of Appeals saw this case for what it was — repugnant conduct by executives of Corbis who attempted to deceive Infoflows and misappropriate its intellectual property and then cover their actions,” said Infoflows CEO Steve Stone.

Corbis is still considering further appeal. ®

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