Futurelink Corp., the online software rental leader Futurelink Corp. is suing its ex-CEO and nine other former employees for $80-million. It alleges that most of them used data obtained from a confidential project to start a business.
Futurelink was established in Calgary as an application service provider (ASP). Futurelink is well-known for renting software applications to small or medium-sized businesses that use them over the Internet. Futurelink’s market capitalization (U.S. dollars) is greater than $1 billion on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The allegations against the defendants have not been proved in court
Cameron Chell was the former chief executive of C Me Run Corp. and is now the chairman of C Me Run Corp.
“As the founder Futurelink and as a large shareholder, I wouldn’t want to move on from something that is economically not in my best interests which would hurt Futurelink,” Mr. Chell stated
He stated that he would fight the suit vigorously.
Futurelink’s chairman and CEO, Philip Ladouceur, has resigned from his position. Philip Ladouceur, former leader of MetroNet Communications Corp. which merged last year with AT&T Canada Corp., is Futurelink’s new CEO.
Futurelink could not reach them at their Irvine, Calif. headquarters.
Futurelink alleges Mr. Chell was part of a team that developed a plan to reach a similar market in order to target individual consumers. This would involve providing ASP services to individuals as well small offices, home offices and hotel guests
“This business opportunity. . . The plaintiffs and their respective workers first became aware of the project as ‘ASP1’ but later changed to ‘Project Cohiba’,” Futurelink claims in its statement of claim, filed at Calgary’s Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.
According to the company’s allegations, Mr. Chell was part of a conspiracy to abscond from Project Cohiba plans for his own benefit
Futurelink claims in the lawsuit that while they were still employed at Futurelink the employees “secretly determined to change Project Cohiba’s name to C Me Run/Cmerun with the view to establishing corporations and marketing plans and an Internet Web page with those names for their benefit.”
Mr. Chell acknowledged Project Cohiba was developed in Futurelink. However, he said that C Me Run was misunderstood by the company. C Me Run is something he claimed was “totally” different from Project Cohiba.
“We will not be delivering any applications to the consumer. . . . We’re not an app service provider in any way.
Mr. Chell explained that his new venture was a “service and consultancy firm to ASPs Cameron Chell Calgary and ISPs [Internet service suppliers] telcos as well as Internet portals.”
C Me Run is a company that officials from said will open public trading next week. It will also launch in San Jose next months. Mr. Chell claimed that the company will have additional information in response next week to the lawsuit.
“I really believe this revolves around an ego war and their realization this company will be the hottest in the ASP market,” Mr. Chell said.
Futurelink is seeking a permanent restraining order that prohibits the defendants and their marketing efforts for Project Cohiba. Futurelink will also not use any information obtained by its ex-employees while they were working on the project.
It is also seeking all revenues from the business resulting from this project and damages in excess of $75 million (Canadian) as well $5-million in punitive damage.