LOS ANGELES – A tech company does not have to provide printout copies of source code to accommodate an expert witness hired by a defendant accused of using counterfeiting keys to install software without a license.
The dispute between Synopsys, which develops and sells software products, and Ubiquiti Networks Inc., which manages platforms, centers on allegations the latter accessed the plaintiff's software tens of thousands of times without a license.
Ubiquiti asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to order Synopsys to provide printouts of the source code because its expert lives far from where both companies are headquartered.
But the court ruled May 21 against the defendant's argument that it would be unreasonable for its expert to travel to California, stating that the parties already agreed any source code inspection would be in the law offices of the two companies.
Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, in her order, said there was no dispute over electronic access to the source code as all has already been made available for review at the Synopsys' attorney's office. The dispute was over the printout.
"But the parties stipulated that the location for source-code inspections would be their respective counsel’s offices," Beeler wrote in the opinion. "Having made that agreement, Ubiquiti must live with it. Ubiquiti does not cite any cases that support the proposition that the fact that its expert lives far from Synopsys’s counsel’s office."
The underlying action relates to a claim that Ubiquiti copied the license keys to access Synopsys software.
According to the opinion, Synopsys was able to track this access using “call-home data,” which allows the software to "call home" whenever accessed without a valid key.
"Synopsys has alleged that its call-home data here shows that the defendants accessed Synopsys software more than 39,000 times without a valid license key," according to the opinion.
Ubiquiti claims Snopsys’s call-home data is "vastly overinflating the number of alleged circumventions," the opinion states.