A software publisher conducted a license audit on our client, a technology company, which resulted in the software publisher claiming that they were owed over USD 60 million in licensing fees. Our client, disputing the claim, engaged Ankura as experts to establish the factual accuracy of the audit report.

The client's decision to engage Ankura was driven by the significant financial and reputational implications of the software publisher's claim. A gap of USD 60 million in licensing fees could severely impact their finances and reputation, potentially leading to legal action, financial penalties, and damage to its business relationships.

Ankura was engaged to conduct a thorough review of the audit report, analyzing the software usage data, licensing agreements, and other relevant information to determine the accuracy of the claimed gap. Our findings were crucial in determining the validity of the software publisher's claim and in defending our client's position in the dispute.

Our Role

Ankura conducted a comprehensive analysis of the audit report, focusing on scrutinizing the data collected during the license audit, the client's procurement records, and the email correspondence between both parties. The goal was to establish the accuracy of the reported licensing gap and provide an unbiased assessment of the situation. Here is how Ankura approached the analysis:

  1. Audit Report Examination: Ankura thoroughly reviewed the audit report to understand the methodology employed and identify any potential discrepancies or inaccuracies.

  2. Data Analysis: Ankura analyzed the data collected by the publisher during the audit, carefully cross-referencing it with the client's procurement records. This analysis aimed to validate the accuracy of the reported licensing gap and identify any discrepancies.

  3. Communication Review: Ankura scrutinized email exchanges between the client and the publisher to uncover any miscommunications or misunderstandings that may have contributed to the dispute. This review provided valuable insights into the context of the audit process and any issues that arose during communication.

  4. Contract Review: Ankura conducted a thorough review of historical contracts and agreements between the client and the publisher. This review aimed to provide a comprehensive procurement history, shedding light on the terms of previous agreements and any relevant clauses that could impact on the current dispute.

  5. Expert Report Preparation:  Based on the analysis, Ankura prepared a detailed Expert Report summarizing their findings. The report highlighted inaccuracies in the audit report, presented supporting evidence from the data, procurement contracts, and invoices, and provided an unbiased assessment of the licensing gap reported by the software publisher.

Our Impact

Ankura's Expert Report, a comprehensive compilation of findings, was a pivotal element in the legal dispute between the software publisher and our client. This report was submitted to the court and shared with the software publisher, detailing Ankura's meticulous analysis of audit data and supporting documents. 

Ankura's expert analysis included a thorough review of the software usage data, licensing agreements, and other relevant information to establish the accuracy of the audit report. This analysis was crucial in providing a clear and objective assessment of the licensing fees owed by our client.

Upon reviewing Ankura's Expert Report, the software publisher decided to avoid a trial and instead engaged in discussions with our client to resolve the matter outside the courtroom. This decision suggests that the software publisher found Ankura's analysis compelling and recognized the validity of our client's position.

After submitting the report, and through the combined efforts of the client, counsel, and Ankura, the software publisher offered to settle the dispute at a sum close to 1/10th of the initial claim against our client of USD 60 million.

The intervention of Ankura as an expert witness highlights the importance of expert analysis in legal proceedings, particularly in complex cases such as software licensing disputes. Ankura's thorough and meticulous approach to analyzing the audit data and supporting documents played a crucial role in steering the dispute toward a resolution, ultimately benefiting both parties by avoiding the time and cost associated with a trial.

The legal dispute between the software publisher and the client highlights the complex nature of software license audits and the importance of engaging experts to ensure a fair and accurate assessment of licensing compliance. It also underscores the potential financial and reputational risks associated with such disputes, emphasizing the need for companies to carefully manage their software licensing agreements and compliance processes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.