Robins Kaplan partners David Prange, Christopher Larus and Benjamen Linden, and associates Emily Tremblay (now a partner), and Rajin Olson served as lead defense counsel in a lawsuit which represented a major threat to the defendants’ software licensing businesses. The verdict allowed the defendants to continue to develop and license their payroll processing software, and “it became a significant inflection point in a broader dispute between the parties,” Prange said.
In early 2019, North Carolina-based MPAY had filed suit alleging that the defendants improperly used, copied, and distributed software and related source code, in violation of a license agreement. MPAY alleged claims of copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and breach of contract.
Earlier in the federal case, the court granted partial summary judgment and dismissed MPAY’s claims related to the alleged misuse of source code, which represented exposure of nearly $86.8 million for defendants. Through successful pre-trial motions, Robins Kaplan eliminated approximately $45.1 million in additional potential liability.
The sheer amount of damages being demanded by MPAY and potential impact on the on-going business relationships of ECCA and Payroll World made the case in effect, “bet-the-company litigation for our two clients,” Prange said.
It was a complicated case, due to “the subject matter complexity of numerous agreements and the interplay between them,” and the parties’ 20-year business relationship. Prange said the keys to winning the multi-faceted case included the defendants’ “legal team members’ industry knowledge, technical software knowledge, and legal practice expertise applied to develop and execute on a winning case strategy.”
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