University agrees CCI legal settlement

Salford University has received a substantial damages payment after consultants infringed intellectual property rights relating to a construction industry software product.

In a statement issued internally to university staff and seen by Place North West, Dr Adrian Graves, deputy vice-chancellor, said: "On 6 November, the University of Salford settled the action it had brought for infringement of its intellectual property rights and breach of contract and confidence against KPI Zone Limited, Andrew Thomas, Timothy Whitehill, Victoria Hutchinson and Room 4 Consulting Limited."

The statement went on: "Under the terms of the settlement the Defendants agreed to pay substantial costs and damages and undertook not to compete for a period with the University's Centre for Construction Innovation in the area of Constructing Excellence KPI benchmarking in the construction industry."

The university later declined to confirm the value of the settlement or the length of the non-compete period. The deputy vice-chancellor's statement, agreed by both sides as part of the mediation process, concluded: "We are very pleased that we have been able to resolve this case through mediation. The settlement underscores the University's commitment to protect its valuable intellectual property."

A spokesman for Salford University said the software at the centre of the infringement challenge was called KPI Engine and was used to help construction companies benchmark their performance against industry rivals.

Andrew Thomas was formerly chief executive of Centre for Construction Innovation North West. Thomas is now chairman of Room4 Consulting, based in Chester. Whitehill is managing director of Room4 Consulting and Hutchinson principal consultant.

A spokesman for KPI Zone Limited, Andrew Thomas, Timothy Whitehill, Victoria Hutchinson and Room4 Consulting Limited said all were glad the matter was behind them and they can focus on the core consultancy elements of their business.

Law firm Kuit Steinart Levy advised Salford University. Aaron & Partners advised KPI Zone Limited, Andrew Thomas, Timothy Whitehill, Victoria Hutchinson and Room 4 Consulting Limited.

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