Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Royalty Fraud: Chapter Twelve

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Court We Go

 

Lawyer number four was a nice fellow named William Hansen, whom we retained to place the matter of Beigel vs Dwan before Judge D. Lowell Jensen in the Oakland Federal Court for the District of Northern California. Case No.: C-02-3116 DLJ.

Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.

You may ask yourself what we were doing in Federal Court when this was a partnership dispute, and the proper jurisdiction of a State Superior Court. Or you may not be asking yourself this question. It’s a question, I suppose, only a lawyer would have interest in.

And I certainly hope some of you are, indeed, lawyers. Since I am not a lawyer, or a paralegal, or even a bright viewer of the various Court TV shows where I am always wrong when guessing what the judge’s ruling will be, this story is putting me in direct peril from the ravenous legal teams that are available to Parametric Technology and Arbortext. They have eaten my lunch quite festively over the past six years. One of them even fell asleep while at the same time wiping me off the map like an inconsequential bug. Even the Cast of Villains listed at the top of this broadcast all personally have far greater means of legal representation than is available to me. My wife Mary is my only legal team and her assessment of this situation is that we are, legally speaking, up a creek without a paddle.

But I hope that some of you are not just lawyers, but GOOD lawyers. Lawyers who care about Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Lawyers who will bristle at the descriptions of lawyers that will be sprinkled into this story as it unfolds. Lawyers who might possibly take pity on this poor wretched nincompoop and pass along a hint or two about any legal errors I most probably will make as I ramble along this road.

As you might surmise, despite all evidence to the contrary contained herein, I remain a Dreamer! May I not be dislodged from this character flaw!

At any rate, there were three reasons for this case ending up in Federal Court. Convenience, distrust, and ramifications.

Convenience involved the venue. If we brought suit in a State Superior court, the location of the trial would be Santa Rosa, California, which is located sixty-five miles from where Mary and I live in Concord, California. I had taken Dwan on as my partner and formed our business partnership while each of us was living in Sebastopol, California – a small burg about twelve miles west of Santa Rosa. Therefore, the trial would be held in the location where the business was formed. While Sonoma County is without a doubt a very lovely area of the world and I still had friends there from my many years of living in that area, neither Mary nor I was a big fan of commuting one hundred and thirty miles each day of the eventual trial. No sense overloading the Grumpy Factor. The trial itself would be torture enough.

The venue was also the leading component of the Distrust. Larry Bernheim had his law offices in downtown Santa Rosa and had been hustling and schmoozing around that town for a couple of centuries. I’m sure he had pressed the flesh, perhaps more unctiously than some would have preferred, with anyone remotely populating the legal industry in Santa Rosa during that time. William Hansen had his law offices near us in Walnut Creek and had only recently moved, with his wife and two young children, from Kansas to California. It was not a stretch at all for our Paranoid Factor to suspect we might be at a Good Old Boy networking disadvantage in Santa Rosa. This is not to impute possible bias or favoritism into whomever would have been the judge. Well, actually, yes. That possibility is precisely what we imputed. After all, this was the Paranoid Factor.

The final, and most important, reason was the ramifications. If we sued Dwan over the partnership matter alone, the judge would be forced to completely dissolve and terminate the Blueberry Software business. Since Blueberry still had remaining contractual obligations, as with Arbortext (there were others, which I will explore later), one of the partners would be appointed to Wind Up the business and the other one would be sent to the Unemployment Compensation Line. Oops. As a partnership, neither Dwan nor I was eligible for unemployment benefits. So the Line would be the one forming at the Job Seeker window, Really Old Guy Division. The Blueberry web site and retail business, and all future Blueberry business, would be terminated. Any assets would be split up and th-th-that’s all folks. Only under extremely rare circumstances would one partner be able to continue the Blueberry business while the other one was removed.

One of the assets that would be split up, in fact Blueberry’s main asset, was the Intellectual Property – the twenty years of computer source code that had been written primarily by me and my brother Jim Beigel, who lived in Steubenville, Ohio. Since the code could hardly be split up, as in “here’s half for you, Dwan, and half for me,” more likely each partner would walk off with all of it and be perfectly free to start another business based on that source code.  In essence, that is what Dwan had done by forming Blue Tools Software. He had done so, and still was doing so via the Blueberry web site, while Blueberry Software still existed and he purported himself to be the owner of both. He was using this advantage to slowly, but surely, and in an orderly fashion designed to deceive the public, transfer the identity of Blueberry Software over to Blue Tools Software. When the axe finally fell on Blueberry, he would not miss a beat in continuing to run the business that would then be known by most everyone as Blue Tools Software. I, on the other hand, would have to form an entirely new and unknown business and start from absolute zero in terms of marketing and sales and world presence. Blueberry’s entire past, its vendors and resellers, its customer database – all would trot right off with Dwan. If I claimed to have equal rights to the ownership of all these things, it would only scare off past and future customers and nobody knew who the hell I was anyway. De Minimus would not begin to describe the infinitesimal value I would possess. It seemed lately to be the reigning accomplishment I was attaining with my life. “Yep, guy worked long and hard to be nothing. Damn thorough job. Pretty impressive, though I question the wisdom of the career choice.”

And so it was that I sued Kevin “The Worm” Dwan for “Copyright Infringement.” Copyrights were governed by federal law and this put us in nearby Oakland and in front of a wholly neutral Federal Judge. To me, this is where the case belonged and what this matter was all about. Dwan had not written a single line of computer source code for any of Blueberry’s products during the entire twenty year history of Blueberry, and now he was trying to walk off with all of my work, all of my brother Jim’s work, and act like he was a computer guru guy. It boiled my blood, quite frankly.

What is it with these shysters like Kevin Dwan and Jim Sterken? Don’t they have any sense of pride or worth? Get your own life, you creeps! Don’t you realize that getting ahead in life by stealing an idiot’s stuff doesn’t exactly communicate a positive spin about you!

And so it came to pass that one day in June of 2002, Mr. Kevin Dwan answered the knock at his front door and opened it to be the recipient of a law suit thrust firmly into his thieving outstretched hand. And, I like to imagine in moments of petty pleasure, with a bit of a stunned look on his face and a definite quiver in his heart.

See you in court, Mr. Dweebledwad.

 

To be continued . . .

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June 26, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Law, Life, News, Software, Technology, Writing | , , , , ,

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