Software company iP3 Systems is suing Victoria University for $48 million in damages arising from injunctions issued during an intellectual property dispute about e-commerce software.
One of the largest damages claim ever brought against an Australian university, the software firm alleges it was financially hamstrung by injunctions placed against it in 2003 while legal action resolved ownership of products jointly developed with the university by iP3 Systems.
The university claimed ownership of intellectual property and two e-commerce software products on the basis the founding members of iP3 worked on the products while employed as academics at Victoria University.
iP3 chief executive Ahmed Youssef said the claim represented the significant harm done to the company by the university's actions.
Youssef said that prior to the injunction the company had successfully raised $12 million capital and generated substantial market interest.
"Before this unwarranted and reprehensible interference by the university in 2003, iP3 was in excellent shape and confidence could not have been higher," Youssef said. Victoria University's acting vice chancellor, Professor Richard Carter, said it was "hard to comment because this is the subject of ongoing litigation", adding the university had only been alerted to this issue via the media.
A statement from Victoria University said claims in relation to past litigation in the iP3 media release substantially misrepresent the outcomes of the previous court case and that previous ruling had awarded Victoria Universtity a 47 percent shareholding in iP3, which the university still holds.