In den USA geht es aktuell zwischen den Information-Management-Anbietern Appian und Pega ziemlich ab. Beide Anbieter sind im Process Management unterwegs und werden als führend z.B. bei RPA Robotic Process Automation eingeschätzt. Jetzt geht es um eine andere Art von „Prozess“. Appian hatte Pega bezüglich der Nutzung von Appian-Betriebsgeheimnissen verklagt. Im siebenwöchigen Prozess ging es um die Ausforschung und Nutzung von Code von Appian durch verdeckte Mitarbeiter von Pegasystems im Rahmen eines Projektes. Der Fairfax County Circuit Court, Virginia, verurteilte im Mai 2022 Pega auf einen Schadenersetz in Höhe von 2,04 Milliarden US$ (https://appian.com/resources/newsroom/press-releases/2022/appian-awarded–2-036-billion-in-damages-against-pegasystems-inc.html). Eine stolze Summe.
Nun hat das Gericht am 15.09.2022 das finale Urteil gesprochen und Pega zur Zahlung der Milliardensumme verurteilt. Dies dürfte bei Pegasystems an die Substanz gehen. An der Börse ging es bereits im Frühjahr mit dem Pega-Kurs von rund 80 auf 47 US$ runter. Nun liegt der Kurs bei rund 35 US$. Allerdings wirkte sich der Richterspruch bisher nicht sehr positiv auf die Aktie von Appian aus.
Mal sehen, wie es hier weitergeht.
Aus der Pressemitteilung von Appian:
During the seven-week trial, Appian presented evidence that Pegasystems hired an employee of a government contractor (the “Contractor”), to provide Pegasystems with access to Appian’s software as a part of an effort to learn how to better compete against Appian. In hiring the Contractor, Pegasystems instructed its third-party contracting service to recruit someone who was not “loyal” to Appian. Appian provided evidence that the Contractor, who worked as a developer in the Appian software under a government contract, violated his employer’s code of conduct and his employer’s agreement with Appian by providing access to an Appian competitor.
Appian put forward evidence that the Contractor passed trade secret information to Pegasystems to enable its employees to build competitive features and train Pegasystems’ sales team to better compete against Appian. During the proceedings, Alan Trefler, Pegasystems’ Founder and CEO, admitted that it was “inappropriate“ for Pegasystems employees to have hired the Contractor, and that the Contractor “apparently did things for which he was not entitled.”
The Contractor, referred to as a “spy” internally at Pegasystems, helped Pegasystems generate dozens of video recordings of the Appian development environment for use by Pegasystems in compiling competitive materials and evaluating improvements to its platform. Appian put forward evidence that Mr. Trefler attended and participated in a meeting with the Contractor and received Appian’s trade secrets supplied by the Contractor. The videos and documents created in connection with Contractor’s efforts were then used by Pegasystems to train its sales force to better compete against Appian. The effort was later labeled “Project Crush” within Pegasystems. At one point, a Pegasystems employee reviewing the materials exclaimed that “we should never lose to Appian again!”
Appian also submitted that Pegasystems’ product development team reviewed the materials provided by the Contractor and changed the course of Pegasystems’ product engineering to take advantage of the Appian technology they saw. Specifically, Appian put forward documents and testimony that Pegasystems made use of the trade secrets gleaned from the Contractor to make improvements with respect to, among other things, ease of use, and social and mobile capabilities in the Pegasystems platform.
In addition, Appian presented undisputed evidence that Pegasystems employees used false identities to obtain access to Appian information and trial versions of Appian’s software, which were then used for competitive purposes. Mr. Trefler himself admitted to using an alias, “Albert Skii” to obtain access to Appian information. One Pegasystems employee admitted to creating a fake persona and a company to fool Appian into providing him with access to Appian’s software platform. Other Pegasystems employees obtained access to Appian’s software through Pegasystems’ partners in India, using credentials provided to those partners under license. Mr. Trefler admitted that he did not think it was appropriate “for people to access other company’s systems through aliases” and that the Pegasystems employees who gained access to Appian trial software “shouldn’t have done it.”