Intellectual property theft involves robbing people or companies of their ideas, inventions, and creative expressions—known as “intellectual property”—which can include everything from trade secrets and proprietary products and parts to movies, music, and software… Preventing intellectual property theft is a priority of the FBI’s criminal investigative program.
In a prime case of “Do as I say, not as I do,” the FBI might have to do some investigating within the Department of Defense. The U.S. Navy is being accused of pirating 3D software after getting a small taste of a package offered by German company Bitmanagement Software GmbH. The Navy’s actions were allegedly so egregious that Bitmanagement is suing the United States of America for over half a billion dollars.
According to the court filing, Bitmanagement licensed its BS Contact Geo software for use on 38 Navy computers from 2011 to 2012. This limited rollout was “for the purposes of testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems.” While this test period was underway, the Navy reportedly began negotiating to license the software for use on thousands of additional computers.
BS Contact Geo 7.2
However, even as the negotiations were ongoing, the Navy decided to go ahead and initiate its full-scale rollout without actually paying for the software. In total, the initial 38 computers allegedly swelled to 104,922 computers by October 2013. As of today, BS Contact GEO is claimed to be installed on 558,466 Navy computers, although “likely this unauthorized copying has taken place on an even larger scale” according to the filing.
As if the unauthorized installation of software onto hundreds of thousands of computers wasn’t enough, Bitmanagement is alleging that the Navy during 2014 began disabling the Flexwrap software that is tasked with tracking the use of BS Contact Geo and helping to prevent it from being duplicated.
When this software piracy was taking place, the retail price of a single BS Contact Geo license was $1067.76. With nearly 600,000 computers now in play, Bitmanagement is seeking a whopping $596,308,103 in damages. The lawsuit, which alleges willful copyright infringement was filed on July 15th.
Representatives for the U.S. Navy have not yet commented on the case.