A Software Pirate Uncovered.



A local technology company contracted with an electronics technician to integrate hardware and software components into a wireless fluid management system. The system did not perform as intended and the relationship between the company and the independent contractor soured. The independent contractor hired a lawyer and sent a demand letter to the company alleging their relationship was a  “joint venture” and his “intellectual property” was incorporated into the fluid management system.

Attorneys Eric Metz and Andrew Kovar advised the company to sever its relationship with the independent contractor and terminate its development of the fluid management system which integrated any components of the disgruntled contractor. The company did just that. The former independent contractor then sued the company claiming the parties were engaged in a joint venture which entitled him to one-half of the profits, the company was illegally using his intellectual property, and the company owed him another $16,000.00 which he had never billed. Attorney Derek Casey undertook the defense of the company.

Derek retained an expert witness for the company who was a former hardware and software engineer for Hewlett-Packard. The engineer compared the original fluid management system to a new system developed by the company and found no evidence that the company had copied any of the independent contractor’s hardware or software components. Instead, the expert engineer did discover, buried in thousands of lines of code, evidence that the independent contractor had actually pirated software from a third party source and claimed it as his own original work likely in violation of the software license. With this information, Derek was able to convince the district court to enter a protective order restricting the independent contractor’s access to the company’s source code.

Derek then also prepared and filed a comprehensive motion for summary judgment. The court, granted summary judgment to the company on all but two claims. The remaining two claims were submitted to a jury at trial which found in favor of the company on the remaining claims. The case was affirmed on appeal before the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Triplett Woolf Garretson, LLC has the skills and flexibility to defend its clients on issues of cutting edge technology and the resources needed to acquire the experts and consultants to protect client interests.

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