Episode One: The First Bold Lie

Lanny J. Davis Announces First Episode of Podcast Series — “To Catch a Thief 

Episode One: The First Bold Lie

“Why did Ford flip flop on their claims about not violating Versata’s confidentiality agreement?” asked Versata attorney Lanny Davis. “Was it because they thought they could bully a small company and simply take what they wanted without fear of being caught? Well, Ford thought wrong.”

DETROIT, August 17, 2017 — Today, Lanny J. Davis, an attorney representing Versata Software, Inc. (“Versata”), introduces the first episode in his podcast series, “To Catch a Thief: The Story of Ford Motor Company Stealing $1 Billion in Trade Secrets from Versata.

Episode one, as well as the rest of the To Catch a Thief series can be heard at: www.truthaboutford.com/to-catch-a-thief-episode-one/.

Episode One: The First Bold Lie recounts Ford Motor Company’s expensive, flawed automotive production process before partnering with Versata—a partnership that resulted in more than a billion dollars in savings for Ford. But rather than continue the partnership, Ford secretly copied Versata’s Automotive Configuration Manager (“ACM”) software and attempted to cut ties with Versata before too many questions could be asked. How far will Ford go when bullying a small company to steal their ground-breaking software?

“Ford managers must have thought they were above the law,” said Versata attorney Lanny Davis. “Because rather than building their own configuration software, they copied Versata’s ACM and thought they could get away with lying about doing so.”

Before Ford began working with Versata in the 1990s, Ford struggled with a slow and flawed product development process that incorrectly assembled large amounts of vehicles, spiked warranty and recall costs, and reduced customer satisfaction. Accurately managing, assembling and marketing which vehicle configurations are buildable, and which are not—to both the people and internal computer systems—is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.

But that’s where Versata came in. Versata’s innovative ACM software addresses the complexity, scale, and previous disconnectedness of automotive production without the risks of manufacturing defective vehicles and recalls.

“[Versata] helps Ford dramatically improve quality and speed to market—while significantly reducing costs,” then-President of Ford Motor Company North America, Jim Padilla, said in promotional materials.

However, despite the strong partnership Versata and Ford developed over the decades, Ford grew tired of paying for Versata’s ACM technology. And sometime in 2011, behind closed doors, Ford began stealing Versata’s trade secrets and developing their own copycat software. And after crudely developing imitation software in three-year’s time, a process that previously took Versata engineers nearly a decade, Ford ended the partnership.

“Little did we know, that in a dark room, in secret, Ford employees were copying our technology,” said Davis. “Our trade secrets. Our labor. We thought they were partners. It turned out they were thieves.”

During a December 19, 2014 meeting scheduled to continue negotiations to extend the ACM licensing agreement, Ford abruptly announced they had developed their own software to replace ACM and that they would be phasing out the use of ACM.

Surprised at the suddenness of the announcement, Versata representatives began asking questions about the replacement technology’s development. Specifically, about whether Ford had violated the confidentiality clause in the licensing agreement that prohibited Ford from building replacement technology using Versata trade secrets, a restriction known to software engineers as a “Chinese Wall.”

Ford representatives assured Versata that they had respected the contract’s Chinese Wall, keeping employees that worked with ACM separate from those that developed. But as Ford representatives grew visibly uncomfortable with Versata’s line of questions, the meeting was ended.

Versata representatives left the December 19 meeting with more questions than answers—namely, how did Ford build a replacement product in such a short amount of time without breaching the Chinese Wall?

“We didn’t know it at the time, but now we know the truth,” said Davis. “The Ford employees at this December 19 meeting had lied to our faces. They violated our contract, and they knew it.”

In the next episode of To Catch a Thief, Davis will explore Ford’s claim of a “Chinese Wall” between its employees working on ACM and those working on its copycat software. For a company seeking recognition as a technology innovator, Ford admittedly broke a sacred rule of software development ignoring the Chinese Wall and allegedly stealing Versata’s trade secrets. Episode two will be released on August 29 and can be heard at: http://www.truthaboutford.com/to-catch-a-thief/


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 www.versata.com.

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Contact:
Drew Halunen
dhalunen@tridentdmg.com
(202) 716-2204 cell

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