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Topics : Business: Software Firm Files Lawsuit

March 31, 1994|TED JOHNSON

Torrance-based software publisher Image Smith Inc. has filed suit against two former senior executives, claiming they took the company's trade secrets and sabotaged licensing agreements to boost the fortunes of their own software firm.

In the suit, Image Smith says James R. Myrick, former vice president of marketing, and John D. Myrick, former vice president of operations, left in November and used confidential technical and marketing data at their new software company, Big Top Productions, in San Francisco. The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court last week, seeks unspecified damages.

Lisa Van Cleef, a spokeswoman for Big Top, said the Myrick brothers "disagree with the whole content of the suit and are prepared to fight it." She declined to comment further. The brothers are still Image Smith shareholders.

Image Smith, which publishes educational software including Yearn 2 Learn, has been trying to line up agreements to license cartoon characters for its products. The company alleges that the Myricks persuaded Determined Productions, owners of the Felix the Cat character, to try to cancel a licensing agreement with Image Smith.

In another instance, the suit claims the Myricks prompted Sanrio Inc. to break off negotiations with Image Smith to license the cartoon figure Hello Kitty.

The suit also says Image Smith lost out on potential sales because the Myricks delayed the release of a Peanuts version of Yearn 2 Learn past the December holidays.

"We regret being forced to file the lawsuit, and we had hoped to be able to resolve the issues without litigation," said Dominique Claessens, a spokeswoman for Image Smith.

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