Trial Team Secures $104 Million Patent Infringement Verdict Against Ford Motor Co.

A Michigan jury returned a $104.65 million patent infringement verdict against Ford Motor Co., finding that Ford misused Versata Software Inc.’s proprietary computer software system and breached a 15-year contract to avoid paying millions of dollars in licensing fees.

The verdict — believed to be the largest trade secret verdict in Michigan history — vindicates Versata for its development of one of the most innovative software products used in the automotive industry. The Automotive Configuration Manager software refines complex design and logistical processes in the manufacture of vehicles. According to the lawsuit, Ford stole Versata’s intellectual property to create a replacement software.

“Our team met challenges of the case inside and outside the courtroom. In trial, we presented crucial technical witnesses for Versata and cross-examined Ford’s key witnesses, including Ford’s corporate representative and main technical expert,” said trial attorney Steve Mitby of Houston-based Mitby Pacholder Johnson. “Our cross of Ford’s expert witness was so effective that Ford’s counsel did not mention his testimony in closing arguments. We also prevailed in Ford’s world-headquarters home venue – just blocks from the Ford Field NFL stadium.”

Mitby added, “Our client, Versata, deserves tremendous credit for working so hard for more than seven years to achieve this victory. We are grateful for the confidence of Lance Jones, Versata’s general counsel, as our team pursued this case in recent years, and for his support during a decade of collaboration.”

In addition Mitby, Versata is represented by Mitby Pacholder Johnson attorneys Timothy Johnson and Drew Kim, along with Dan K. Webb, Matthew R. Carter and Brian Nisbet of Winston & Strawn LLP; Jaye Quadrozzi of Young Garcia & Quadrozzi PC; and Sharoon Saleem and Jennifer Trillsch of Jones & Spross PLLC.

“This win provides our new firm with strong momentum,” said firm co-founder Tim Johnson. “We are proud of our lawyers and paralegals who strive to provide extraordinary service to our clients — and big wins.”

The case is Versata Software Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., Case No. 2:15-cv-10628, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

About Mitby Pacholder Johnson

Founded by veteran trial lawyers Steven J. Mitby, Debbie Pacholder and Timothy Johnson, Mitby Pacholder Johnson combines the depth of seasoned commercial trial lawyers, licensed patent attorneys and an award-winning general counsel to attack complicated legal issues and business disputes head-on. With a record of significant jury verdicts and settlements, the team has developed a reputation for aggressive and sophisticated strategies to maximize business, intellectual property, commercial arbitration, regulatory, and employment disputes. The firm’s expertise spans industries, including energy, oil and gas, healthcare and construction. More information is available at