Tuesday, November 17, 2009

City Sued By IT Contractor for Breach of Contract, Violations of Trade Secret, and Copyright Laws

That is the problem when an agreement does not work as the parties had hoped; it can turn to a bitter dispute and an expensive lawsuit.

The City of San Diego is now being sued by Axon Data Solutions Inc for alleged breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement.

The IT Company is now asking $5.59 million from the city.

According to San Diego Processing Corp, a city owned agency, they have terminated the contract with Axon because the contractor failed to meet deadlines numerous times.

Axon did not contest the right of the city to terminate the contract but claimed that it is subject to payment of all Axon outstanding invoices for work completed, payment for any work in progress but not yet completed, and also Axon's wind-down costs.

They claimed that the city has not paid outstanding invoices but has begun using the codes processes they designed.

These actions, they claim, are unauthorized use of Axon's trade secrets and copyright protected materials.

Who is right?

Well that depends on the terms of the independent contractor agreement that they agreed upon.

Intellectual property right laws about copyright and trade secrets can be complicated.

Aside from the payment for the completed work of Axiom, the important question is who owns the completed codes and processes that are already being used.

Is it Axon, who actually developed the said codes or the city who commissioned the contractor to develop it?

All of those will depend upon the actual details of their agreement.