The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has sued software developer Saama Technologies over claims that the developer failed to create anything of value while running nearly a year behind schedule. Saama had billed the Foundation $2.8 million dollars, and had been using the Foundation’s name in advertising materials, which violated the terms of their contract. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is seeking damages, reimbursement for the useless software developed by Saama, as well as an injunction to prevent Saama from using the Foundation’s name in future advertising materials.
Sometimes a breach is okay
When a party breaches a contract, sometimes they do it deliberately for an allowable reason, and sometimes they do not. In resolving these cases, a court needs to decide if the particular breach was legal or not. Breaches that are considered to be “ok” include those that happen in response to something the other party did first, and those that occur on purpose, known as “efficient” breaches.
The goal with litigation for breach of contract is to restore balance to the two parties – it’s not to punish and shame the alleged offender. In this case, restoring balance would require Saama to pay back the money provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and stop using the Foundation’s name in their marketing materials.
If you are on either side of a breach of contract dispute, you need to discuss your situation with an experienced business litigation attorney who will make sure you understand your rights and enforce them to the greatest possible degree.