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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47365
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I built website software for a customer, who in turn supplied

Resolved Question:

I built website software for a customer, who in turn supplied it to a customer of theirs.

A competitor of my customer has taken a copy, without permission. They then poached the end customer and used my software to build a website for them.

I am looking for advice on the course I should follow to get redress.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the software your original work which you can show was created by you?
Customer:

The software was written by me and my company, in its entirety. There are some open source libraries included

Customer:

Yes, there are clear footprints and some aspects are publicly visible

Ben Jones :

What are the losses you have suffered here - I presume you lost the business of the customer as a result?

Customer:

Its difficult to quantify - its a hosted system that we are rolling out to a number of end customers

Customer:

The worst case is that the other company affects future sales to other end customers, the best is that this is the only only loss and the financial loss is a few hundred pounds from future upgrades from this one customer

Customer:

One question I had, was whether I can demand to inspect the competitors software - it may not be necessary, but if there is a dispute over whether they are using mine

Ben Jones :

This would be a potential breach of copyright. If you were the original creator of the software in question then you would automatically own the copyright to it. There would be no need to have registered it anywhere for you to enjoy these rights and it is something you get as a given if you are the original creator. Therefore, if someone else has used your copyrighted work without your consent they would be acting in breach of copyright. You are then able to consider pursuing them for any losses incurred as a result. That may not necessarily cover the continued business of a customer because there may not have been any guarantee that they would have continued with you regardless but the current losses relating to this project may certainly be included.


 


You cannot force them to allow you to inspect the software but if you have reasonable evidence to suspect it is your work that was used and the copyright breached you can threaten to instigate legal proceedings to pursue them for any damages and in the process ask them to allow you to inspect it.

Customer:

I was thinking I may ask them for a licence fee, or take action to stop them using the using the software, am I right in thinking I can demand they stop using it?

Ben Jones :

Yes certainly, this is known as a cease and desist request where you make a formal request that they stop infringing your copyrighted work and that if they fail to do so then you would take the matter further

Customer:

Is there any advantage to using a solicitor or is it fairly straightforward?

Customer:

and if I needed proof would screenshots taken by me count or would they need to be taken by somebody independent ?

Ben Jones :

legally it makes no difference if you use a solicitor or not, you can send the letter yourself to keep costs down but some pay more attention to a letter from a lawyer than yourself...you never know. You can use any evidence you have, whether taken by you or not, anything that shows you may have a valid case

Customer:

Do you do solicitors letters?

Ben Jones :

I am afraid we don't we just deal with our customers through this site

Customer:

ok

Customer:

and finally, I found their development site, which is why I know whats happening - do I need to wait until they go live before I start action?

Ben Jones :

No, any unauthorised use of copyrighted material qualifies

Customer:

ok

Customer:

I think thats it, thanks

Customer:

appreciate your time today

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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