Earlier this week, MSC Software Corp. announced that a jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan found that Altair Engineering willfully and maliciously took MSC Software trade secrets (from Adams simulation software) to use in its MotionSolve product. In other words, the ruling spells out that Altair Engineering knowingly took MSC Software trade secrets with malicious intent.
Keep in mind, though, that this award was no slam-dunk, as the suit was first filed in July 2007 as MSC Software Corp. versus Altair Engineering Inc. The six-week trial ended with two days of jury deliberation.
The jury awarded MSC Software $26.1 million for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of confidentiality agreements by Altair and two former MSC employees who are currently executives at Altair.
Jurors found that Altair had misappropriated some source code as well as concepts or processes that are used to write the code from MSC, and that the employees had also violated one or more non-solicitation, confidentiality, or severance agreements with MSC.
According to the lawsuit, after Altair hired some former MSC Software employees, Altair began developing a software product called MotionSolve that competed directly with MSC’s Adams/Solver.
MSC had previously alleged that at least eight employees had left MSC between 2005 and 2007 and took jobs at Altair. Five of those employee claims were dismissed prior to trial.