Adobe sues Omniture co-founder Joshua James for breach of contract

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 14 2010 8:16 p.m. MST

Joshua James

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Adobe Systems gave Provo resident and Omniture co-founder Joshua James a warm send-off when he left the company this past summer. But now it is suing him for allegedly violating his resignation agreement.

In a lawsuit filed Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court, Adobe claims James' recent purchase of Lindon-based Corda Technologies breaches the noncompetition clause of the agreement because the two companies are competitors. James recently was appointed CEO at Corda, the suit says. The company provides solutions for creating dashboards and interactive data visualization solutions.

The suit further states that James last month tried to hire a "key" Adobe employee, which breaches the proprietary rights clause in the agreement. The employee ultimately declined James' offer.

James contends that Adobe's allegations are false. "I have always taken extraordinary care to ensure compliance with all my contracts with Adobe, and I never encouraged anyone to leave Adobe," he said in a statement Tuesday. "In fact, I have convinced dozens of unhappy Adobe people to stay."

Adobe bought Orem-based Omniture for $1.8 billion in October 2009. James, Omniture's chief executive officer at the time, became senior vice president and general manager of the Omniture business unit at Adobe.

In the deal, James received $80 million for his stock in Omniture as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and other compensation. He also received a "very substantial one-time severance payment" when he left Adobe, according to the suit.

Adobe, based in San Jose, Calif., is the world's largest graphic-design software program maker and is known for products such as Flash Player, Acrobat and Photoshop. Omniture offers a variety of Web traffic analysis and other products for companies to improve their marketing over the Internet.

Adobe's Omniture unit employs about 620 people in Utah and 1,100 worldwide. In October, Adobe announced plans to build a campus in Lehi just off I-15 that will initially bring as many as 350 jobs to the state.

James said the lawsuit is a reaction to one he filed in San Jose alleging Adobe is unlawfully seeking to interfere with his work at Corda. "Corda does not compete with Adobe, and, in fact, Adobe buys our products," James said. "I am focused on building a business and this business is one in which Adobe has no involvement.

"I am confused and disappointed about why Adobe would take this action and can only conclude that someone in Adobe's corporate management has a personal ax to grind."

Adobe seeks a court order restraining James from "violating the Adobe agreements" and an unspecified amount in monetary damages.

e-mail: romboy@desnews.com

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