DICE levels more charges against Bold

But Bold claims DICE filed "baseless" suit because it can't compete
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

BAY CITY, Mich. and COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—A legal dispute between central station automation platform provider DICE and its competitor Bold ratcheted up in October when DICE filed three additional allegations against Bold in court. DICE now is accusing Bold of copyright infringement and violation of two federal laws, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

However, Bold, in a response filed in court Nov. 1, claims that DICE is  “unable to compete with [Bold] in the marketplace,” and so “in a misguided attempt to level the playing field … has launched a baseless lawsuit against Bold.” Bold said denies DICE’s claims and asks a judge to dismiss the case.

Michigan-based DICE filed suit against Bold in federal court in August, essentially alleging that Bold unlawfully accessed DICE’s proprietary software with the aid of a former DICE employee hired by Bold. DICE says it spent more than $5 million developing the software that it claims Colorado-based Bold misappropriated, and is seeking damages and compensation.

Not named as an actual defendant, though central to DICE's complaint, is former DICE software engineer Amy Condon. DICE said Condon spent 14 years with DICE before leaving in May of this year to take a software support position with Bold. DICE alleges Condon acted as an agent for her new employer.

DICE made three claims against Bold in its original filing: violation of the Michigan Uniform Trade Secret Act, conversion (civil as opposed to criminal theft), and unjust enrichment. Bold has denied all three claims and called the lawsuit “baseless.”

In Bold’s response to the lawsuit, filed Sept. 30 in U.S. District Court in Michigan, Bold also contested the legal validity of DICE’s claims and asked a judge to dismiss the suit and make DICE pay Bold’s costs in defending the suit.

On Oct. 18, DICE filed an amended complaint against Bold that contains the three original counts and three new ones. DICE now contends Bold violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DICE says the law applies in this case because DICE’s “encryption of its software is a technological measure that effectively controls access to its products,” and that Bold’s alleged use of the former DICE employee “with knowledge of methods to circumvent this encryption has permitted Bold access to DICE software without permission from DICE.”

DICE also contends Bold engaged in copyright infringement, saying, “Bold has incorporated Dice’s copyrighted software into Bold’s conversion program … without compensation to DICE.”

And DICE claims that Bold violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act because “the DICE servers accessed by Bold are used in both interstate and foreign commerce and are thus ‘protected computers’” under that law.

In its Nov. 1 response, Bold denies DICE’s claims and again says the suit should be dismissed.

DICE counsel Craig W. Horn, of Braun Kendrick Finkbeiner PLC, could not be reached for comment by press time.

When asked about Bold’s response to DICE’s new complaints, Bold counsel R. Christopher Cataldo, of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss PC, told Security Systems News he could not comment in detail on ongoing litigation. However, he said, “I can say to you we believe that the allegations are groundless and we intend to defend the suit vigorously.”

The case is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 14, 2012, although a settlement conference is set for Jan. 31.