Auckland software developer Advanced Management Systems has been awarded costs of $175,000 following its court case against the Ministry of Defence.
The firm took the government to court over copyright ownership of the Leader payroll system it wrote for the Devonport naval dockyard 12 years ago. The two parties had an agreement giving AMS the exclusive right to on-sell Leader. AMS paid for ongoing development of the package to ensure its marketability.
In July 2000 the Defence Force sold Leader for $10,000 to payroll services bureau NZ Payroll.
AMS sued, alleging that while the Defence Force owned copyright in the original system, as written and installed in 1989, its ownership in the system as updated by AMS amounted to only 15% of the total. The Auckland High Court decided that the Defence Force owned 25% of the copyright and AMS the remaining 75%. It also said that the Defence Force could not sell the system to anyone else without AMS’ agreement.
AMS general manager Noel Reid says the cost of calling expert witnesses still has to be decided.