Judge dismisses all claims in Dice v. Bold

Court finds no evidence that Bold accessed Dice’s servers or its central station software
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BAY CITY, Mich.—A federal judge has dismissed all of Dice Corp.’s claims in its intellectual property lawsuit against Bold Technologies, stating that Dice’s case was based on “conclusory assertions, not evidence.”

Dice, a Michigan-based provider of central station automation platforms, filed suit against Bold in August 2011. Dice claimed that its Colorado-based competitor unlawfully accessed Dice’s servers and stole its proprietary software. Bold denied the claims, calling the lawsuit “a misguided attempt to level the playing field.”

On Oct. 25, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Ludington dismissed “with prejudice” the four claims in the lawsuit: that Bold violated the Michigan Uniform Trade Secrets 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. Ludington had dismissed three other claims in the suit last November.

Dice said it spent more than $5 million developing the software that it claimed Bold misappropriated with the help of Amy Condon, a former Dice engineer. Condon terminated her employment with Dice in May 2011 and was hired by Bold, according to court documents.

In July 2011, Condon assisted ESC Central, an alarm company in Birmingham, Ala., that was making the transition from Dice’s software to Bold’s Manitou. Dice alleged that during the process, Condon “accessed Dice servers located in Dice’s Bay City [Mich.] facility and accessed file layouts that contained proprietary signal-processing intelligence software.”

Condon denied the accusation in an affidavit, stating that she had “never accessed or attempted to access any server owned by Dice at its Bay City office or any other location.” In his deposition, Dice President and CEO Cliff Dice acknowledged that the company had no evidence that Condon had accessed Dice servers.

“I don’t know how Bold got our—got all of our intelligence,” Dice stated for the court. “It’s not a question for me to answer, it’s a question for you to answer. How did Bold get access to those files?”

Addressing other points in the lawsuit, Ludington said there was no evidence that Bold circumvented Dice’s security to gain unauthorized access to copyrighted materials. He also concluded that Bold did not use Dice’s software, “much less use it for the principal purpose for which it was designed.”

Rod Coles, president and CEO of Bold, said the company has maintained its innocence from the outset and “we are extremely pleased that the court saw through to the facts with this judgment. … We’re proud to be a part of the industry we’re in and the work our customers are able to do.”

Melissa Courville, director of marketing and communications for Dice, told Security Systems News that the company was considering its options for an appeal.