AVCP Settles in Software Copyright Lawsuit

The Association of Village Council Presidents settled a lawsuit last month with a company that claimed AVCP had infringed copyright rules and misused trade secrets by providing unauthorized access to proprietary software.

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Since 2000, AVCP has contracted with an Oklahoma firm, Eaglesun Systems, for software used in federally funded tribal welfare programs like Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Bryan Nowlin, an attorney for Hall-Estill, a Tulsa, Oklahoma based law firm, litigated the case for Eaglesun Systems.

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“The complaint alleged that screenshots had been sent to a new firm in order to develop a competing product. That’s what Eaglesun eventually learned about and felt it had to take action on, because if a competing product were developed that would be very harmful to Eaglesun’s business and to its ability to stay in business,” said Nowlin.

According to court documents, in 2010, AVCP hired a competitor to Eaglesun, a California software company called Front Range Solutions to write new software. Eaglesun says AVCP gave Front Range a login to access to the program as well the screenshots for their work in designing a new product.

Eaglesun in 2013 sued AVCP for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets. They say AVCP damaged Eaglesun’s business by at least 75-thousand dollars.

The complaint says an AVCP employee told Executive Vice President Mike Hoffman that the new software looked just like Eaglesun’s and that the new company “should at least change the colors.”

Attorneys for the two companies met in private mediation August 16th and agreed to settlement terms, which were not disclosed. The settlement was filed September 15th.

An attorney hired by AVCP did not respond to requests for comment. AVCP’s only comment was that to say the case has resolved amicably and the details are confidential.