The High Court in Auckland has awarded exemplary damages to cloud rendering software company Otoy New Zealand after its software was copied and distributed by a former employee.
Otoy's US parent bought Auckland-based Refractive Software for an undisclosed sum in 2012. Refractive had developed advanced cloud rendering technology, Octane Render 3D to create video games and animated films.
However, Andrey Kozlov, a software developer employed by Otoy New Zealand up to April 2015, was found to have copied the software and distributed substantial parts of it in a new product called FStormRender.
Kozlov left New Zealand after his resignation and now appears to reside in Russia, a High Court judgment says. FStormRender was being developed and made available to users by an overseas company called Pinksoft, registered by Kozlov.
"I am satisfied that there is extensive similarity between the Octane software and FStormRender," Justice Muir said in the judgment, released after an August court hearing.
"The unique typographical errors that are repeated in the FStormRender source code (for example the duplication of ‘ff’ in floor) are a particularly good example of the level of similarity between the two works," the judge said.
"I consider it almost impossible to believe that Mr Kozlov could have independently written the FStormRender software in a way which so closely duplicates the Octane software, including the same flawed lines of code and text."
In addition to the exemplary damages awarded, Justice Muir also awarded $1 in compensatory damages to Otoy, costs, permanent injunctions and an order for delivery of the infringing copies to the plaintiff and for their subsequent destruction.
Refractive Software was founded by Terrence Vergauwen. While the sale price of Refractive was not disclosed at the time, Otoy NZ's accounts lodged with the Company's Office indicate the company was bought for $1.25 million.