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Software company hits Ford with $1 billion lawsuit

Technology has become a vital part of everyday life for Detroit residents. It would be difficult or near impossible to accomplish many tasks at home and work without smartphones, computers and other pieces of technology.

Businesses have also gone all-in on technology. While the technological advances can produce efficiencies and improve a company's bottom line, it can also lead to serious business litigation.

A good example of this is the recent intellectual property dispute between Ford and an out-of-state software company, which alleges Ford stole its intellectual property to develop certain software. The company previously contracted with Ford, but after Ford did not want to increase the price under the contract for the company's services, the company claims Ford used its trade secrets to develop similar software.

Ford denies stealing the software, which is designed to ensure the parts used in vehicles are compatible with one another. Accordingly, the matter will proceed in court for the time being, with over $1 billion at issue in the corporate dispute.

While the Ford case is notable for its name recognition and high damage amount at issue, intellectual property disputes frequently arise for companies of all shapes and sizes. Companies place a high value on their trade secrets, and many will not hesitate to litigate cases where another company or competitor is alleged to have appropriated those trade secrets.

Because the damages amounts can be staggering, companies need to be proactive in protecting their rights, whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant in the case. By understanding the technology at issue and how the law will apply to that technology, companies can aim to succeed in their case and move forward with their operations.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Software company accuses Ford of trade secret theft," Alisa Priddle, July 16, 2015

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