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A Philadelphia law practice recently ranked among the nation's top 200 firms has been accused by a software industry group of stealing business applications made by Adobe, Symantec, and other vendors, InformationWeek has learned.

In a lawsuit filed last week on behalf of the vendors by the Software Information Industry Association, the firm of Fox Rothschild is alleged to have "engaged in the unauthorized reproduction and use" of software made by Adobe, Corel, Sonic Solutions, and Symantec.

The vendors claim that Fox Rothschild's alleged "copyright infringement" is causing them "repeated and irreparable injury." The suit, filed in federal court in Northern California, does not specify which specific software products the firm is alleged to be using without authorization, or their estimated value.

Fox Rothschild chief information officer Brook Lee did not immediately return a message left on his voice mail seeking comment.

Adobe, Symantec, Corel, and Sonic are asking the court to prohibit the firm from continuing to use their software, and are seeking unspecified damages. They're also asking the court for an order that would prohibit Fox Rothschild from erasing the software from its networks or destroying any electronic documentation related to its use or installation.

SIIA litigation counsel Scott Bain said Fox Rothschild's alleged software misappropriation came to the group's attention through a whistleblower program it operates.

Talks aimed at settling the matter out of court went nowhere, Bain said. "They took a particularly aggressive stance toward us so we decided to sue," said Bain. "We were disappointed. You'd think that a law firm would know better."

Fox Rothschild appeared last year on American Lawyer magazine's list of the nation's top 200 firms.


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