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Guidewire Software, a San Mateo, Calif., provider of core systems to property/casualty insurers, issued a strong rebuttal to technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture regarding the firm's patent infringement allegations.

Accenture LLP asked a federal court on Tuesday to stop Guidewire Software Inc. from selling its insurance software, which Accenture said infringes its patent.

Accenture said in a complaint filed in federal district court in Wilmington, Delaware and reported by Reuters that Guidewire Insurance Suite and Guidewire ClaimCenter, two core Guidewire products, "have no substantial non-infringing use." The case is filed as “Accenture Global Services GmbH a Switzerland Corporation and Accenture LLP v Guidewire Software Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 09-cv-00848.”

In the petition, Accenture asked the court to order Guidewire to award Accenture damages for its alleged infringement and stop making and selling the software in the United States.

Founded in 2002, Guidewire’s fast track to insurance technology success includes being a repeat winner of Insurance Networking News’ Vanguards in Insurance Practices Award,  and in 2009 was named one of the Silicon Valley Six, an elite group of private technology companies including LinkedIn that are likely initial public offering candidates.  Its customers include AAA, Geico, and Tokio Marine Nichido Fire.

The company's chief executive, John Raguin, asserts that Guidewire grew more than 40% in the latest fiscal year. Accenture LLP, the U.S. business of Accenture Plc, saw its shares drop in late trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.

Privately held Guidewire is openly content with the 2008 verdict. “We’re pleased that the U.S. PTO has issued a preliminary ruling rejecting the claims in Accenture’s ‘284 patent, the subject of Accenture’s previous lawsuit against us and we have now asked the U.S. PTO to re-examine the validity of the ‘240 patent, which is the subject of Accenture’s latest allegations,” said John Raguin, chief executive officer, Guidewire Software. “We believe Accenture’s patents are invalid and that, in any event, our software does not infringe them. The patents appear to describe features of insurance claims management software that have been well known in the industry for many years, and that were certainly well known when the patents were filed.” 

Raguin hinted at competitive advantage and quest for market share as factors behind Accenture’s latest move. “Accenture is using the legal system to fight a battle they are losing in the marketplace,” added Raguin. “These allegations are a competitive tactic designed to disrupt our business. I am pleased to report they are failing in this attempt: since Accenture first made allegations against Guidewire, we have signed more than twenty-five new customers. Our customers and the industry know Guidewire’s reputation for integrity and fair competition.”

Guidewire has been recognized for its modern claims systems in the P&C industry and has received numerous industry honors, including:

* Ranked #1 P&C provider of Point Solutions and #1 Provider of Integrated Systems  in the Insurance Networking News and Celent 2009 "Vanguards in  Insurance Practices" survey; as well as #1 in Point Solutions in 2008. In 2007, Insurance Networking News Awarded Guidewire the #1 InsureTopTech award for in “Most Adds Value,” “Up and Coming,” “Keep the Business Operating,” and “Help Provide Quality Customer Care” categories;

* Attained a rating of  "Strong Positive," the highest possible rating in Gartner's report titled "MarketScope: North American Property and Casualty Insurance Claims Administration Systems” for the years 2009, 2008, and 2007 respectively; and

* Received highest marks in Celent’s “U.S. Property/Casualty Market Claims Systems Vendors 2008” report.

Accenture also has a long list of insurance customers using its claims solutions, including RSA in the U.K., and more, and maintains that all of the 10 largest insurers in the United States draw on its expertise and advice, as do 17 of the top 20 insurers worldwide. According to the Reuters report, as of press time, Accenture could not be reached for comment.

“This case bears watching because of the prominence of the firms involved and the principles at stake," Celent’s Light told Insurance Networking News.

*Editors note: Both Guidewire and Accenture have transacted advertising business with Insurance Networking News.

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