Client Alerts | 11/16/2023

Court Enters Final Judgement for $3 in Versata Software, Inc. v. Ford Motor Company


Brooks Kushman helped Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) secure final judgment of $3 in what was once a $1.4 billion claim for trade secret misappropriation, patent infringement, copyright infringement and breach of contract.

The matter, Versata Software, Inc.  v. Ford Motor Company, was filed in April 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan before the Honorable Mathew F. Leitman.  The case concerned complex enterprise computer software for defining buildable vehicle configurations.  Ford licensed Versata’s software for over 10 years, until Versata declared it “End of Life.”  Ford then developed its own patented software to manage its vehicle configurations more efficiently and accurately than the software Ford licensed from Versata.

Versata filed a related matter against Ford in the Eastern District of Texas, asserting various trade secrets, infringement of 16 patents, and breach of contract.  The Eastern District of Texas dismissed that case in view of the earlier Michigan action.

On multiple occasions throughout the case, the Court granted Ford’s motion to exclude Versata’s windfall damages calculations (once over $1.4 billion) because they were inconsistent with the facts and law.  The Court permitted Versata to proceed to trial with an “all or nothing” damages claim of over $127 million.  After a three-week jury trial, Judge Leitman issued a 50-page opinion agreeing with Ford that no evidence supported the jury’s damages calculations and awarded Versata $3 in “nominal” damages.

Versata then moved for a permanent injunction seeking to bar Ford from, among other things, continuing to use Ford’s patented replacement software. In the alternative, Versata sought an ongoing royalty. On October 19, 2023, the judge denied Versata’s motion. The court ruled that Versata failed to identify any irreparable harm that it would suffer in the absence of a permanent injunction, and that any right Versata could potentially have had to such relief has now expired. The court also ruled that there was no basis to grant Versata an ongoing royalty.

On November 15, 2023, the Court entered final judgment in the case.

The Brooks Kushman team representing Ford includes: John LeRoy, Tom Lewry, Christopher Smith, Chanille Carswell, and Reza Esfahani.

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