"You cannot put a wall in someone’s brain to prevent them from taking advantage of knowledge they have of a product, that’s just not possible! Ford executives lied when they told us they maintained a Chinese Wall.”
Detroit, MI (PRWEB) September 13, 2017
Today, Lanny J. Davis, an attorney representing Versata Software, Inc. (“Versata”), introduces the second episode in his podcast series, “To Catch a Thief,” a story of Versata’s contention about how Ford Motor Company Stole $1 Billion in Trade Secrets.
Episode two, as well as the rest of the To Catch a Thief series can be heard at: http://www.truthaboutford.com/to-catch-a-thief-episode-two/.
Episode Two: The Not So Great Chinese Wall recounts promises made and promises broken about a “Chinese Wall” between Ford employees working on Versata’s Automotive Configuration Manager (“ACM”) software, and the employees that developed Ford’s copycat software. Mr. Baxter promised a Chinese Wall separated Ford employees with knowledge of how ACM works, and those working on Ford’s copycat software. But, as sworn depositions will expose, reputable technology vendors must be wary when trusting Ford Motor Company with their trade secrets.
In a December 19, 2014 meeting, Ford executive David Baxter assured Versata representatives that Ford maintained a Chinese Wall when developing its copycat software intended to replace ACM. Skeptical of Mr. Baxter’s claims, and with so many lingering questions following the December meeting, Versata placed Ford executives under oath in sworn depositions to get the truth.
One of the first Ford executives questioned was Mr. Baxter. In his deposition, Mr. Baxter admitted to promising Versata a Chinese Wall existed, but made a much more stunning admission.
“Question: As long as you didn’t copy the source code, which you didn’t have access to, was it your view, Mr. Baxter, that Ford had the right to copy anything else it wanted from ACM?” recounted Versata attorney Lanny Davis from David Baxter’s deposition. “Answer: Yes.”
“Then why would you need a Chinese Wall if you could copy anything you want,” asks Davis. “Which is it Mr. Baxter? Were you lying when you said there was a Chinese Wall, or are you lying when you said you had the right to copy anything?”
“There were more than two dozen people that worked on Ford’s copycat software product that also worked on Versata’s ACM, including the project manager for ACM,” said Versata attorney Lanny Davis. “That’s not a Chinese Wall. You cannot put a wall in someone’s brain to prevent them from taking advantage of knowledge they have of a product, that’s just not possible! Ford executives lied when they told us they maintained a Chinese Wall.”
Maintaining Versata’s trade secrets was a key element to the ACM licensing agreement with Ford. Yet, as stated in sworn depositions, the view of Ford executives was that they could copy anything it wanted from ACM, so long as it was not source code.
“How can any reputable software or technology vendor partner with Ford if its executives think they have the right to copy and steal just about anything they want,” asked Davis.
“Ford deceived us,” said Davis. “Ford betrayed our trust by promising confidentiality, and then going behind closed doors to copy Versata’s ACM using many of the same people we had shared our trade secrets with. Can anyone trust Ford?”
In the next episode of “To Catch a Thief,” Davis will interview a former Ford executive who will describe a top Ford manager, whose name is on the door, who contributed to the culture of bullying and fear that Versata has experienced. Episode three will be released after Labor Day and can be heard at: http://www.truthaboutford.com/to-catch-a-thief/.
Statements made by Davis are based on public facts, testimony, and documents developed in the ongoing litigation between Versata and Ford. This is in reference to case number 15-10628, Ford Motor Company v. Versata Software, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
About Versata Software, Inc.
With a global presence covering 45 countries, Versata Software, Inc. and its affiliates solve the most complex business problems for the world’s largest organizations. Versata’s family of companies includes a number of leading enterprise solution providers, including Versata, Inc., Instance, Inc., Artemis International Solutions Corporation, Genzyme Corporation, Clear Technology, Inc., Everest Software, Tenfold Corporation, Cora Software, Inc., Evolutionary Technologies, Inc., and Alter Point, Inc. Versata distinguishes itself in the software industry by focusing on customer priorities as driven by value delivered. Versata’s market-leading Customer Success Program ensures customer involvement in product decisions and business priorities and provides twice-yearly opportunities for customers to score Versata’s performance against commitments. Versata’s world-class engineering capability ensures substantive and valuable product releases, thereby ensuring customer success. Versata’s relentless focus on customer priorities, coupled with an unmatched global engineering capability, provides Versata customers continuous innovation and repeatable value propositions. For more information, visit http://www.versata.com.