Litera Technologies’ legal action against DocsCorp for alleged patent infringement has ended with all claims being dismissed ‘with prejudice’, meaning that Litera cannot pursue any further claim over the patents in dispute.
The claim, which was brought in March 2015 alleging that some of DocsCorp’s products infringed Litera’s patents relating to document comparison and removing metadata from documents, saw DocsCorp turn to an insurance policy that covers it for litigation.
Litera has become known in the legal technology world for its aggressive stance on patents after action including a long running patents claim against Workshare, settled in September 2014, which culminated in Workshare agreeing to license Litera’s patents 7,895,276 and 8,060,575. That dispute related to patents over scrubbing metadata at the server – Workshare’s Protect Server product.
Patents for core technology provide a recognised mechanism to exclude competitors from making, using or selling patented technology. However, inter-vendor patent litigation is still not widely practiced in the clubby legal technology market and in the UK, buyers typically still take a dim view of it.
Jan DeCerce former IT director and COO of Lewis Silkin and now information technology consultant at DeCerce Consulting said: “When I was an IT director I put in DocsCorp – being fully aware of an impending law suit. I believed then that Litera trying to stifle competition by threatening law suits was a poor move so went ahead with DocsCorp. But my key issue with the whole thing is that I really don’t like seeing vendors sue each other because the money they spend on lawyers could be far better spent on product development.”
Without insurance, the outcome for DocsCorp could have been very different: litigation, particularly in the US, is notoriously expensive and a vendor’s ability to defend a claim is often limited to the depth of their pockets.
In an email sent to clients and seen by Legal IT Insider, DocsCorp founder and CEO Dean Sappey said: “DocsCorp’s development plans to improve its products and invest in new technologies were, and are, unaffected by this suit. Some of you may be concerned that this has diverted our revenues from software development to paying for the defense of the law suit. I can happily report that DocsCorp has spent no money at all on these procedures – we understand the value of insurance. Rather, we have significantly increased our spend on software development throughout the period of this action.”
Litera’s president Paul Domnick, who declined to comment on the action against DocsCorp said: “Litera prides itself on innovation and has always been willing to license patents to companies who have interest. Advancing technology is not stifled by protecting intellectual property, in fact innovation is what raises the bar for all of us.” DocsCorp declined to comment.