Versata Software learned the high cost of failing to manage the use of free and open-source software (FOSS) in its proprietary distribution channel management (DCM) software: Its routine attempt to terminate a license for its DCM software with its licensee, Ameriprise Financial, exploded into several lawsuits resulting in eight of Versata’s clients being sued by XimpleWare Corp., the owner of some software embedded in the DCM software.
The case was finally settled out of court, so just how high the cost was is unknown. But certainly being a party to any extended lawsuit is expensive. There are lessons that can be derived from the Versata case that any company distributing or using FOSS should heed if it wants to avoid paying a similar price.
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