Twenty years ago, a Missoula company started by a University of Montana professor signed up the country’s largest school bus firm to use its software that helps school districts plan and run their bus routes.

A recent federal court award of about $28 million to Missoula’s Edulog – shorthand for Education Logistics Inc. – and its licensing branch is testament to just how badly the deal went awry.

Edulog was supposed to see $1,000 in royalties each time Laidlaw installed the software on a computer system. Laidlaw also was supposed to promote Edulog’s software, according to court documents.

Instead, Laidlaw ended up directly competing with Edulog, and actively discouraged at least one district from using Edulog’s software, according to the documents.

*****

Laidlaw also provided access to at least part of Edulog’s software to school districts in California, Illinois, Missoula, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, according to the documents. But no royalties and fees were paid on that access, according to the documents.

Edulog, along with its licensing arm, Logistics Management Inc. of Washington, sued Laidlaw in 2007, seeking royalties, fees and lost profits.

Last month, a federal court jury in Missoula agreed, awarding Edulog $28.4 million.

The dispute harkens back two decades, with a five-year deal giving Laidlaw an exclusive license to market and use the Edulog software, and a perpetual nonexclusive license after 1997.

The jury found Laidlaw guilty of breach of contract for failing to use its “best efforts” to promote Edulog software, and for providing school districts with unlicensed access to that software.

Jurors put damages at about $9.5 million for lost royalties, $8.6 million for lost license fees and annual license maintenance fees, and $70,000 for lost perpetual license fees. Jurors found that the damages caused by Laidlaw giving school districts unlicensed access to Edulog software totaled $842,000.

Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com, or @CopsAndCourts.

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(12) comments

MiddleFinger
MiddleFinger

"slovenly"

Really rog?

Had to look that one up. Seems the last instance the word was used in physical print was back in 1677.

But some guy in Reno nicknamed sticker guy bought the slovenly.com domaine back in 2001, and now it's a record label.

Check out the band pic of Paint Fumes. Bet the guy on the right is you, and the one puking on the left is W12.

Am I correct?

Roger
Roger

Nope - you're wrong as usual.

Roger
Roger

By the way, I'm always happy to enhance your vocabulary, which is obviously rather limited.

Roger
Roger

That's some pretty slovenly reporting there, Missoulian.

grizcountry
grizcountry

Maybe they'll be able to pay their employees more than minimum wages......

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

Hahahahaha....good one. That will never happen. Edulog's owner is one of the most penny-wise pound-foolish individuals that I have ever encountered.

CoolRanch
CoolRanch

"Penny-wise & pound-foolish"... I love it. However it is way too kind.
There are plenty of other ways to describe utter myopic greed.

Minimum wage? Maybe paid a bit more, but not much. Still less than your average fry-cook.

Employees will probably still end up selling their plasma over lunch hour instead of being able to afford purchasing any type of nourishment.

Also worth investigating: Is this really a Missoula-based company? Or are they "located" in Washington to avoid Montana income taxes?

Sukey
Sukey

Good job, jury. Now the question is, "How many tax dollars, grants, etc. did Laidlaw get over the years to run school buses? Do they have any assets? Whose bloated bull is this company? Thank goodness it was filed in a federal court so they can collect any assets beyond the State of Montana. ANYWAY LAWYERS OUT THERE, CAN YOU DO A SEARCH AND LET US KNOW WHO REPRESENTED THE PLAINTIFFS AND THE DEFENDANTS? Lawsuits regarding intellectual property rights don't come along often in Montana.

Tracker
Tracker

What or who is Laidlaw? Is that a person? A company? A school district?

Rob Tabish
Rob Tabish

i was wondering that, as well...while i know "who" Laidlaw is [Laidlaw Transit, inc. a simple Wikipedia search solved that], the esteemed author of this article did not specify or clarify that in her editing, and the name could be a reference to almost anyone or anything.....wait, editing?

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/montana/mtdce/9:2007cv00006/31257/253

Tracker
Tracker

I had to use Wikipedia to understand, too. The way the story is written, Laidlaw could be a Missoula company, a University of Montana professor, or the country's largest school bus firm.

So, who was the professor? Why make that reference at the beginning and then never name or refer again to the professor? Someone should notify Parker Brothers that there's an idea for a new board game, along the lines of Clue. They could call it Missoulian.

CoolRanch
CoolRanch

Yes!

It was Florio, in the Missoulian, using the keyboard.

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