Three claims dismissed, but Dice v. Bold continues

Dice attorney says 'meat of the argument' remains in trade case
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

BAY CITY, Mich.—A federal judge has dismissed three claims by Dice Corp. in its trade lawsuit against Bold Technologies, but the move is “just housekeeping” and the legal dispute is far from over, according to an attorney for Dice.

Dice, a Michigan-based provider of central station automation platforms, filed suit against its competitor in federal court in August. Dice alleges that Bold, based in Colorado, unlawfully accessed Dice’s proprietary software with the help of Amy Condon, a former Dice engineer hired by Bold.

Dice, which is seeking damages and compensation, says it spent more than $5 million developing the software that it claims Bold misappropriated. Bold has denied Dice’s claims, calling the lawsuit “baseless” and “a misguided attempt to level the playing field.”

On Nov. 29, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Ludington dismissed three claims that Dice had filed in an amended complaint: for unjust enrichment, conversion (civil as opposed to criminal theft), and a request for statutory damages, costs and attorney’s fees related to a copyright infringement count.

Craig Horn, an attorney representing Dice, downplayed the development as “procedural back-and-forth” and said the “meat of the argument” between the two companies hadn’t changed.

“This is just housekeeping,” Horn told Security Systems News. “Those were just claims that were duplicative of other claims and we agreed (to have them dismissed). … There hasn’t been any fact-finding and we haven’t taken any depositions yet. This is just really nothing more than the two parties deciding how this thing is going to look going forward.”

In a Jan. 9 news release about the dismissal, Bold reiterated that it intends to “vigorously challenge” what remains of Dice’s lawsuit.

“From the beginning, Bold has maintained that Dice’s allegations were factually false and wholly without merit,” Bold President Rod Coles stated in the release. “So we are pleased with the outcome thus far. As we move forward we will continue to defend our reputation and to provide the best possible software and service to the industry.”

Four of Dice’s claims remain in the lawsuit: that Bold violated the Michigan Uniform Trade Secret Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and that it infringed on Dice’s copyrights by creating unauthorized derivative works.

Horn said depositions have been scheduled in the next couple of weeks with Bold officials in Colorado and Dice officials in Michigan, and “we should know a lot more in a month than we do now.”

“Apparently, Bold is still taking the position that they haven’t done anything wrong,” he said. “It’s kind of an all-or-nothing proposition. Either we’re right or Bold’s right, and I guess that remains to be seen.”

David McDaniel, an attorney representing Bold, declined to comment on the case to SSN.