IKOS Beats Co-Founder In Software Dispute

May 17 2013 | 11:36am ET

IKOS Asset Management has won a court fight with its co-founder over ownership of its proprietary algorithms.

A London judge found in favor of the Cyprus-based hedge fund, led by Elena Ambrosiadou, and against co-founder Martin Coward, Ambrosiadou's estranged husband. The two have filed more than 40 lawsuits against each other in four countries, alleging spying, theft and all other manner of misdeeds. But at the heart of the dispute is IKOS' software, which Coward says he created and which IKOS says he stole.

Judge Sarah Asplin said, in effect, they are both right: Coward did write the software. But, she ruled, he did it while employed at IKOS, making it the hedge fund's property. Coward, who quit the hedge fund in 2009, said he may appeal.

"Coward is gratified that the judge found that he had written the software that he claimed to have written," his lawyer, Liam Hemmings, said.

For her part, Ambrosiadou said the ruling "vindicates IKOS' defense of its lawful rights to its IP and strengthens the case for an overhaul of the European laws regarding protection of intellectual property."

Asplin had tough words for both sides, writing that Coward and Ambrosiadou's mutual distaste for one another clouded the case.

"Unfortunately, their approach to giving evidence was tainted by the obvious and deep animosity and the extremely close correlation between their business and their personal affairs," she wrote.

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