Cambridge computer software organization Pegasystems strike with $2 billion verdict

One of the longest-standing program businesses in Massachusetts, Pegasystems said it planned to attraction the verdict, a method which could acquire various a long time.

“The verdict is not supported by the points of the scenario or the regulation and is the final result of considerable mistake,” Lisa Pintchman, vice president of corporate communications, stated in a assertion to the World. “We strategy to vigorously pursue our put up-trial treatments and will definitely attraction what we imagine is an unjust final result.”

Pegasystems and Appian the two make software package that allows organizations create their personal apps. All through the demo, Appian alleged that Pegasystems compensated an worker of a government contractor from 2012 to 2014 to study about Appian’s program and move the data on to its rival.

“We set forward solid evidence that Appian trade tricks have been misappropriated by Pegasystems,” Christopher Winters, Appian’s standard counsel, mentioned in a assertion. “The award of substantial damages to Appian is fully ideal offered the incorrect carry out by Pegasystems.”

The $2 billion of damages arrived about immediately after Appian alleged that the stolen trade strategies assisted Pegasystems entice away buyers which include Amazon and the US Census Bureau, as perfectly as usually enhance its goods to enhance income considering that 2012.

Appian realized of the alleged plan following it employed a previous Pegasystems personnel, in accordance to court docket filings.

“We were being deeply stunned,” Appian main government Matt Calkins, who cofounded the firm in 1999, informed the World. “You can see the seriousness of what transpired in the seriousness of the verdict… It is not just the greenback quantity that issues right here. It is a statement.”

But the sizing of the award, just one of the largest at any time in a trade secrets and techniques case, could sign some issues with the jury’s choice-generating approach, in accordance to University of Florida legislation professor Elizabeth Rowe. The movies, e-mails, and text messages offered in the case may well have inspired the jury to punish Pegasystems, which could open the doorway for a effective enchantment.

“Typically when the carry out is egregious, jurors pay out fewer consideration to the technicalities,” Rowe claimed. “The circumstance gets targeted on the theft, and most people overlooks the complex section about irrespective of whether every thing was a trade solution and how significantly it was worth.”

Appian also alleged that, in 2019, Pegasystems employees employed untrue identities to indication up for demo versions of Appian’s application — such as Pegasystems’ founder and CEO Alan Trefler, who employed the alias “Albert Skii,” in accordance to court docket filings.

Trefler, a Brookline indigenous, launched Pegasystems in 1983 and constructed it into a single of the largest computer software builders in the region. In new decades, the firm has shifted its aim from regular packaged computer software to cloud-centered products and services. Pegasystems’ earnings jumped 19 % final year to $1.2 billion.

Trefler’s 49 % stake in the organization is well worth about $2 billion. He landed at range 1,053 on the Forbes checklist of billionaires this yr.

The company vacated some of its workplace space in Cambridge last year and moved to a new progress in Waltham. Pegasystems used far more than 1,000 individuals in Massachusetts, Trefler told the Globe past year.


Aaron Pressman can be achieved at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ampressman.