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Nasscom backs TCS against US jury verdict in IP case

Nasscom cheif R.Chandrashekhar
Nasscom cheif R.Chandrashekhar

Nasscom cheif R.Chandrashekhar

Indian IT industry body Nasscom on Saturday said it would stand by IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) against the verdict of the US jury in a lawsuit filed by an American software firm alleging stealing of its software code.

“As a policy, we do not comment on a company’s case, but stand by its (TCS) response against the jury’s verdict on the alleged infringement of intellectual property,” National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) president R.Chandrashekhar told IANS.

Responding to a $940 million fine slapped by a federal court in Wisconsin for allegedly stealing software information of Epic Systems Corp, TCS said it would appeal against the jury verdict in higher courts.

Besides the punitive damages of $700 million, the US Federal Court of the western district of Wisconsin has asked the company, and its US arm, Tata America International Corp, to pay $240 million to Epic Systems Corp for “ripping off” its healthcare-related software.

“As the ruling is of a jury trial, we will wait for a higher court judgement, as complex issues are involved in the case. For instance, there is a difference between having access to the source code and user code or a manual, which are in public domain or is a material given with the product for use,” said Chandrashekhar.

Noting that there were gaps in the evidence presented before the jury, he said TCS had reaffirmed its respect for IP and clarified that it did not infringe upon the IP of the other company.

“It is a verdict by a jury consisting of laymen who may not know or understand the difference between a software source code and user documentation. But people in the IT industry understand very well all these technical things,” Chandrashekhar said.

As the trial judge announced that he would almost certainly reduce the damages award (fine), the former telecom secretary said Nasscom would wait for the final judgement in the case with respect to the quantum of fine.

“We should wait for the final judgement of the US courts, where the legal system is fair. We should not rush to conclusions in such complex and technical cases involving software codes and documentation,” he added.

Nasscom also ruled out any setback to the Indian IT industry from the jury verdict.

IANS

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