A federal judge in Michigan recently dismissed a lawsuit filed against Bold Technologies, a provider of central station automation software, by rival Dice Corporation. The suit, which was filed in August of last year, accused Bold of copying Dice’s software.
According to court documents, one of the complaints in the case stemmed from a decision made by a longtime Dice customer, Birmingham, Ala.-based ESC Central to switch to Bold’s software platform in April 2011. While transitioning the central station’s system over to the Bold platform, Dice claimed in the lawsuit that the company copied the source code of their software. Dice also claimed in the suit that a former employee who later joined Bold accessed the company’s servers containing information on proprietary signal processing intelligence software. However, Judge Thomas L. Ludington found no evidence to support Dice’s claims and dismissed the case.
"Dice would like to note that we are considering our options for an appeal, as we are collecting the necessary details," Melissa Courville, director of marketing and communications for Dice Corporation, wrote in email to SIW.
Bold Technologies CEO Rod Coles said he felt "without question" that the company’s reputation has been hurt by the allegations brought against it by Dice, which he said have proven to be "false."
"Despite that, we’ve persevered in the market. Probably the most damage done is to companies that don’t know us or haven’t worked with us," he said. "Our existing customers and people that know us well all rallied behind us. We’ve had phenomenal support. It’s definitely damaged our general reputation, but we’ve persevered. In the last year, we’ve probably released about nine new products, so we’ve continued to be active in the market. We’ve probably added around 45 to 50 new customers already this year."
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., with a European office in Valencia, Spain, Bold has been in business for more than 30 years and has about 500 customers around the world, according to Coles. In total, Coles said there are about seven million end-users using the company’s software.
"We’ve invested millions and millions and millions of dollars into producing our software and over the last 10 years, we’ve elevated ourselves from having legacy systems to being the software that leads the industry," he said. "That reputation has got out, people understand where we’re coming from. So to be accused of underhanded tactics, stealing other people’s software that is something we can’t just sit by and ignore."
When asked if Bold would file a countersuit due to the reputation damage they believe they’ve suffered, Coles said that the company’s attorney is "looking into that now" and that they are weighing their all of their "legal options."
Courville said that Dice had no comment with regards to "any allegations that Bold is pursuing."
Though he couldn’t speculate on a potential appeal of the decision by Dice, Coles said that they would prefer to compete in the marketplace rather than the courtroom.
"Our hope is that they accept it and we can compete in the marketplace,” Coles said. “Let’s compete in the marketplace and see whose products are best. We’re obviously competitors, we’re sort of like Microsoft and Apple, and let’s just produce great products and improve our industry."
Courville said that they "very rarely" see Bold in the same market in which they operate.
"In fact, the last 10 deals we were in, they didn't seem to have a presence at all," she wrote. "Besides, there's more business opportunities in the alarm industry than all the automation software manufacturers combined could ever handle."
Coles added that all of the time, effort and money spent on this legal battle was not in the best interests of either company. "Our industry, I think, has frowned pretty badly on what’s happened here," he said.