WASHINGTON: Over the years I’ve heard dozens of defense executives grumble about the government “stealing” their intellectual property but, when push comes to shove, no one has ever wanted to talk about it for fear of ticking off “the customer.” Since the Pentagon is their only customer, their reluctance is understandable.
But a smallish Texas software company, Apptricitiy, says it has received a $50 million settlement from the Army because, in the wonderful language of this press release, field commanders engaged in “over-deployment of unlicensed logistics enterprise software.” The software is a core part of the logistics system lovingly known as the Transportation Coordinators’ Automated Information for Movements System II (TC-AIMS II).
Translation: Field commanders used the software without permission and without paying for it.
“Field commanders were focused on the mission-critical nature of Apptricity software and the need to protect warfighters and facilitate mission objectives,” Tim Garcia, Apptricity’s chief executive officer said in a statement. With what you can almost see as a wicked smile, he adds that: “Our battle-tested integrated logistics software performed so well that it went viral.” Yes folks, you can almost hear him say, our software is THAT good.
Here’s the nub of the issue, as described in the Apptricity release:
“In its copyright infringement claim, Apptricity sought compensation for approximately 100 server and thousands of device licenses the U.S. Army installed and fielded across its global network. Seeking to maintain and preserve their strong relationship, the parties entered into Alternative Dispute Resolution proceedings and cooperatively agreed to settle for $50 million. The figure represents a fraction of the software’s negotiated contract value that provides a material quantity of server and device licenses for ongoing and future Department of Defense usage.”
And there you have it. Apptricity, clearly eager to preserve its friendly relationship with the Army and to ensure future revenue, didn’t force the issue in a disputatious court case. Instead, it settled.
If readers know details of other cases where the military has “over deployed” their intellectual deployment, please click our Tips button in the upper right of our page and send us the details