White & Case and BMC Software legal team win “Houston Business Litigation of the Year” award
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The $1.6 billion trial victory achieved by BMC Software, a KKR portfolio company, against IBM earned the BMC legal team, including White & Case LLP, BMC in-house counsel and Bracewell LLP, the "Houston Business Litigation of the Year" award at the 2023 Houston Corporate Counsel Awards.
The BMC team established that IBM – a BMC competitor and at times business partner – fraudulently induced and then breached an agreement not to displace BMC's software products on AT&T's mainframe systems with IBM's own products while handling AT&T's daily mainframe operations.
The team oversaw 52 depositions, 17 expert reports, nearly 1,000 court docket entries, and hundreds of thousands of pages of documentary evidence. After a two-week trial last year, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller ruled that IBM had made a "material misrepresentation" and acted in "bad faith" and ordered the company pay BMC $1.6 billion – one of the largest damage awards ever to arise from a business relationship in the U.S.
"IBM is one of the largest technology companies in the world – and it exploited BMC's justifiable reliance for its own gain, cementing its abdication of good faith and fair dealing in the service of its own self-reliance," Judge Miller wrote, emphasizing that "IBM's conduct vis-à-vis BMC offends the sense of justice and propriety the public expects from American businesses."
"IBM never intended to (and never did) pay for the right to displace. IBM's scheme to defeat BMC's contractual rights cheated BMC – a software company wholly dependent on the licensing of its intellectual property – out of hundreds of millions of dollars it was entitled to receive under the contract in exchange for the rights IBM exercised."