Compliance » IP At Risk When Selling Software To Public Agencies

IP At Risk When Selling Software To Public Agencies

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October 19, 2016

A case in Washington state highlights the risk that companies take when they disclose intellectual property to public agencies – something they may inevitably do when they sell or license software. A reporter who suspected there was something questionable about the way police statistics were being reported filed a public records request with the Seattle Police Department, asking to see manuals and training documents from the software company, Versaterm, “specifically any guides or instructions about how to query and export crime data from the system.” The police department let Versaterm know it intended to comply and Versaterm filed for an injunction to prevent the disclosure, arguing it would contain critical trade secrets and from its point of view would constitute a “metaphorical wrecking ball.” The injunction has been granted, but the case is yet to be concluded. “Besides serving as a reminder of the precautions that companies should take when disclosing intellectual property to public agencies, the case also raises interesting questions and strategic considerations,” says a post from the Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe “Trade Secrets Watch” blog.

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