Spend Visibility Gets Legal: Emptoris vs. BIQ

Earlier today, Emptoris announced a suit against the founders of BIQ for "copyright infringement, theft and unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets, breach of contract and unfair and deceptive acts." I am sure the fact that BIQ is getting traction in the market is one of the reasons Emptoris is taking action (I cannot confirm this, but I have heard rumors that BIQ is succeeding in capturing business from the customers of other providers).

The legal track is really an all or nothing approach for Emptoris. If Emptoris fails in court, BIQ will gain a tremendous marketing advantage given the fact they are being sued by someone who clearly feels threatened because of the traction a competitor is receiving in the market (not to mention the prospects that BIQ could file a countersuit against Emptoris for defamation, business interference, etc.) But if Emptoris wins, however, then it clearly is a "winner take all" type of situation given BIQ's small size.

Above all, I hope that lawsuits like this do not stifle innovation in the Spend Management market. But as the case develops, you can be certain Spend Matters will cover it, as it most certainly is news -- and blog -- worthy. At this point, until the facts are proved out in court, I would encourage all companies looking at possible spend visibility and analytics solutions to keep both Emptoris and BIQ on their short list (in addition to Ariba, Zycus, SAS, Verticalnet and Procuri, among others). And because BIQ is an installed application, companies that license it are at less risk than if it were hosted. Still, you should be sure to consult your attorney for their perspective on the licensing agreement to make sure you are protected in case Emptoris wins in court.

Jason Busch

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