Accenture issued a statement this morning after Guidewire Software, a San Mateo, Calif. provider of core systems to property/casualty insurers, released a strong rebuttal to technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture of patent infringement allegations made by Accenture.
The statement made by Guidewire yesterday was the result of Accenture LLP asking a federal court on Tuesday to stop Guidewire Software from selling its insurance software, which Accenture said infringes its patent.
In a complaint filed by Accenture in federal district court in Wilmington, Del., 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.
Today, Accenture clarified its move in court, telling Insurance Networking News that it is “expanding our lawsuit” against Guidewire. “The most recent lawsuit we filed in Delaware expands our overall case against Guidewire for patent-infringement. Accenture now has two suits pending in Delaware alleging that Guidewire is infringing three of Accenture’s U.S. patents relating to the Accenture Claim Components Solution, an insurance claims management technology,” said the statement.
Guidewire, meanwhile, reports: “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, CEO, 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.”
In its statement, Accenture nonetheless openly challenged Guidewire, stating “When anyone violates our intellectual property, we will pursue all appropriate legal remedies to protect it.”
In yesterday’s report, Raguin hinted at competitive advantage and quest for market share as factors behind Accenture’s latest move in court. “Accenture is using the legal system to fight a battle they are losing in the marketplace,” Raguin had said. “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 25 new customers. Our customers and the industry know Guidewire’s reputation for integrity and fair competition.”
In today’s response, Accenture notes “defendants typically attack a patent’s validity as a defense, however, we are confident that our patents will be upheld both at trial and by the patent office.”
Both companies are well-known and recognized leaders in the insurance technology space.
Founded in 2002, privately held 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. Raguin, told the popular press that Guidewire grew more than 40% in the latest fiscal year.
Accenture reports that its claims solution was the first Web-based claims solution on the market, the first deployed to 20,000 claims handlers in a single implementation, and was the highest analyst-rated claims solution in 2009. The firm also reports that it currently holds eight U.S. and 10 other worldwide patents granted since 1999.
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