Ford Authority

Ford Gets Trade Secrets Verdict Thrown Out In Federal Court

Last October, Ford was found guilty of violating its contract with Versata Software after a court found that the automaker breached its contract by misusing and disclosing confidential information. Ford allegedly reverse engineered Versata’s software for its own use without a license, which was then used to manage how various components are configured during the vehicle assembly process. Ford was ordered to pay $104.65 million in damages to Versata following this decision, but The Blue Oval did appeal the verdict – an action that worked, as U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman has thrown out that claim and reversed the jury’s decision, according to Reuters.

In his decision, Leitman noted that Versata did provide sufficient evidence of a contract breach, but noted that it did not give the jury any evidence that would allow them to calculate damages properly. He also added that the jurors weren’t able to determined how long Ford might have needed to develop the three trade secrets that it allegedly stole, which required voiding the damages award to the software company.

“Overturning a jury verdict is difficult by design,” Leitman said his decision. “But here, the lack of evidence presented by Versata forced the jury to rest its damages awards on nothing more than speculation. For that reason the damages awards cannot stand.” Regardless, Leitman ordered Ford to pay Versata $3 for breach of contract.

FoMoCo originally hired Versata back in the late 1990s to help it figure out a way to develop software that could solve problems during the assembly process that were leading to costly recalls and redesigns, and the two agreed to a 15-year contract in 2004. Ford ended that contract in 2014, claiming that it had developed its own software for that same purpose, but Versata claimed that this software utilized several of the company’s own secrets.

We’ll have more on this and all of Ford’s pending lawsuits very soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford lawsuit news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Thomas

    Hmm, the decision should be reversed again if they USED trade secrets to develop their own software. Take it back to court and let Versata calculate damages properly.

  2. TomD

    Boy does that sound like the Rouge Steel decision.
    Yes Ford was wrong and it just wasn’t ethical for what was done however I must refuse the case.
    Judicial corruption at its finest.

  3. I am, wright

    God himself, Matthew Leitman as spoken.

  4. Larry

    Sounds about right. They can’t write their own software so go and steal it. Should have never been thrown out. Sounds like the judge didn’t want to deal with it or he must have a lot of shares of Ford. Should have been able to come up with a number.


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