Jury’s $940 million award to Wisconsin software company against Tata in intellectual property lawsuit among largest commercial litigation verdicts on record

by Jay Pate

A Wisconsin medical software company has been awarded $940 million in damages in an intellectual property lawsuit filed against an India-based technology provider. The verdict in the lawsuit filed by Epic Systems against Tata Consultancies is one of the largest damage awards on record in a case involving commercial trade secrets.

The Verona, Wisconsin-based Epic Systems is the leading provider in the U.S. of medical records systems used in American hospitals. Tata Consultancies, a subsidiary of the Tata corporate conglomerate, is one of the world’s leading providers of IT software and services.

Epic filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Tata in 2014 after learning from a whistleblower that a Tata employee may have illegally downloaded thousands of documents from Epic in order to install software at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. The lawsuit accused Tata of “brazenly stealing” trade secrets and confidential information so that the Indian company could help another software company, Med Mantra, which was one of Epic’s competitors.

According to the lawsuit, Epic signed an agreement to provide electronic health records (EHR) to Kaiser Permanente in 2003. The deal was one of the largest IT contracts in history, and moved Epic to the highest level of companies that develop EHR systems.

Tata was brought on as a contractor to help Kaiser install Epic’s EHR system, court records indicate. Epic and Tata entered into an agreement to allow Tata employees to access Epic’s proprietary electronic workspace in order to carry out the systems integration. Although this agreement enabled employees of Tata to access to the source code and documentation for Epic’s computer programs, court records show, Tata employees were prohibited from using this information to develop software that would enable the company to compete with Epic.

In 2014, Epic filed its lawsuit against Tata, thanks in part to the actions of a whistleblower, Philippe Guionnet, who helped manage Tata’s contract with Kaiser and was familiar with Med Mantra’s hospital software products. Thanks in part to Guionnet’s actions, Epic learned that Tata employees had been illegally accessing Epic’s data as early as 2012. According to court records, one Tata employee allegedly downloaded more than 6,000 records and provided his login credentials to Tata employees based in India so that they could also access and download the documents.

Epic filed suit against Tata, alleging that the Indian company had violated both federal and Wisconsin state computer crimes laws, as well as other laws prohibiting fraud, conversion, and breach of contract. The jury that heard Epic’s action against Tata found in the Wisconsin company’s favor on seven counts of the lawsuit, including breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and unfair enrichment. The jury awarded Epic $240 million in compensatory damages, as well as an additional $700 million in punitive damages.

Intellectual Property and Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed by HO&P

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have handled hundreds of intellectual property and commercial litigation cases on behalf of businesses of all sizes, ranging from small, local businesses to some of the largest multinational corporations in the world. We have handled claims brought by a large company for infringement of its rail car patent, claims by a local inventor for infringement of her patent for a childcare product and claims by an Israeli company against a Fortune 500 company for infringement of its wireless technology patent. Our firm has also represented a client suing a large American pharmaceutical company for interfering with its patent rights to liposome technology.

The ability of our law firm to successfully handle intellectual property cases is aided by the extensive trial experience possessed by our attorneys. Although technical knowledge and familiarity with laws regarding intellectual property is essential for attorneys handling these claims, there is no substitute for courtroom experience. The seasoned litigators at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the track record to take on even the most complex cases and explain them in terms a jury can understand.

If you or your company requires legal representation in a copyright or intellectual property matter, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach our attorneys by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your case to get started.

by Jay Pate

John “Jay” Pate is a licensed attorney who focuses his practice on complex tort litigation involving catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and product liability cases.