The founder of Wellington-based Compudigm International, now in liquidation, has lost an appeal involving patents in the company's technologies.
The appeal means a patent dispute between Compudigm and founder Andrew Cardno continues while Cardno is also pursuing an employment grievance against the company.
Compudigm developed and sold software for visualising casino gambling activities.
According to a judgment from the Wellington High Court (pdf), Cardno lost an appeal which sought to deny Compudigm International and US gaming systems company Bally Technologies standing to pursue a claim against him.
Compudigm and Bally have filed a claim against Cardno, who was an employee of Compudigm when he and two others invented the software concerned.
A patent application for the invention was filed in November 2006, naming Compudigm and the three employees as applicants, the judgment says. The other two employees later assigned their rights to Compudigm, but Cardno did not.
Subsequently, on 24 October 2007, Compudigm assigned part of its rights to the programme to Bally. Bally acquired the balance of Compudigm’s interest in the software from the receivers of Compudigm on 21 November 2008.
Bally then sought to have the patent assigned to it, but the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office declined to do so without consent of all of the registered owners, including Cardno.
Bally and Compudigm appealed that decision
However, Cardno disputed Compudigm's right to bring such an action on the grounds that it assigned its interest in the software to Bally. He also disputed Bally's rights to bring an action under s65 (1) of the Patents Act, covering inventions by employees, on the grounds that he never worked for that company.
However, Justice Miller ruled that Compudigm had assigned its right to bring such an application to Bally.
"Accordingly, there remains a dispute between Compudigm and Mr Cardno in respect of the invention," his judgment concludes.
Cardno, now chief technology officer with data visualisation company Bis2, declined to make any substantial comment on the disputes when contacted by email last week.
"It has been over two and a half years since I ceased my role with Compudigm (April 2007). Similar to Mukesh Gordhan who was the COO until around that time as well," he wrote.
"Mukesh Gordhan has successfully sued Compudigm in the USA and his case continues against the officers and directors (excluding myself).
"It is inappropriate for me to comment further while the this legal action continues against the other directors and officers as well as my own case."