A jury in North Texas recently returned a $210 million verdict in favor of business software company Computer Sciences Corporation in a trade secrets dispute with Tata Consultancy Services after finding Tata stole source code to “unfairly compete” in the life insurance and annuities administration and processing market.
At issue in the trial were two proprietary software platforms owned by CSC that are used to administer and process annuities and life insurance premiums across the country — the Vantage-One/Wealth Management Accelerator and CyberLife. CSC told the jury that developing those sophisticated programs took decades of development and millions of dollars and that Tata unlawfully misappropriated the source code in an effort to compete without making the same kind of development investment as CSC.
“Upon information and belief, defendants are experiencing difficulty in the development of their own system and are under pressure to complete development as soon as possible,” CSC told the court in the lawsuit it filed April 22, 2019. “Defendants are therefore improperly accessing and using CSC’s proprietary software to develop the TCS product and steal CSC’s customers.”
CSC alleged that Tata gained access to its source code through work it was doing for a customer that held a license to use the software.
According to the complaint, CSC licenses its software to customers under agreements that contain “stringent restrictions on access to and use of the software” as well as “strict confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations.”
Money Services Inc., now owned by Transamerica, held a license to use CSC’s software. In 2014, Money Services hired Tata to maintain its IT systems, including CSC’s software. While any access Tata had to the software was to be limited based on the agreements, CSC alleged Tata took advantage of the access to develop a competing software program, called BaNCS.
CSC alleged emails between Tata employees showed its proprietary source code had been misappropriated, including one email discussing how the CSC software made a certain calculation where the actual code had been copied and pasted.
“As stated in an e-mail, the goal of accessing and analyzing CSC’s proprietary documentation and source code was to ‘determine what the calc is/should be doing to provide to the BaNCS team,’” CSC alleged in the complaint.
Trial began before U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr Nov. 8, the parties rested Nov. 16 and the jury returned its verdict Nov. 17 after sitting through six days of testimony.
The unanimous jury found that CSC owned the proprietary source code for the Vantage-One and CyberLife software platforms, that CSC took reasonable steps to keep the information secret and that Tata acquired the source code through improper means and disclosed it.
The jury awarded $70 million in damages to CSC for Tata’s unjust enrichment that flowed from the misappropriation and $140 million in exemplary damages after finding Tata had “willfully and maliciously misappropriated” the source code.
“We are pleased with the jury’s verdict, which is consistent with the overwhelming evidence presented at trial of Tata’s misappropriation of our trade secrets,” CSC said in a statement.
Counsel for Tata did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Computer Sciences Corporation is represented by Justin Sumner, Amanda Bridson and Steve Sumner of Sumner Schick & Pace and Bethany Salpietra, Bryan Parrish, Griffin Tolle, Jacob McDonald, Jacqueline Chan, James Williams, Kurt M. Pankratz, Susan Cannon Kennedy and Thomas E. O’Brien of Baker Botts.
Tata Consultancy Services Limited is represented by Anand K. Sharma, Cara E. Regan, Charles T. Collins-Chase, Daniel M. Jordan, Gerald F. Ivey, John M. Williamson, Joseph Schaffner, Karthik Kumar, Luke J. McCammon, Rajeev Gupta and Sydney R. Kestle of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner and Jessica Barger and Raffi Melkonian of Wright Close & Barger.
The case number is 3:19-cv-00970.