Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has reached a settlement which sees the bank now able to reuse its trade finance loans processing software after a six-year court battle.
An RBS spokesperson tells GTR: “We are pleased to have reached a binding agreement to settle our litigation with Complex Systems Inc (CSI) and continue RBS’s use of CSI’s BankTrade software going forward. As a result of the settlement, RBS can continue to process all trade finance transactions for its clients across all its legal entities.”
RBS settled the dispute earlier this month after a US judge had ordered the bank to cease using the Complex Systems’ BankTrade system over copyright infringement and licence fees. In May, judge Katherine Forrest ordered RBS to completely phase out its use of the software by the end of the year, and to not use the system to process new transactions from July onwards.
BankTrade, a Complex Systems software programme, is used by the bank to process letters of credit, collections and guarantees for its international trade finance business acquired from ABN Amro.
RBS financial documents from 2013 reveal that Complex Systems were initially claiming damages under the Copyright Act in excess of US$300mn, but the bank has always denied that “it has ever lacked a valid licence to use the software and disputes the amount of damages claimed”.
Trouble started after RBS acquired ABN Amro NV in October 2007. Judge Forrest had stated in court documents that there had been “six years of uninterrupted infringement”. However, on the same day in which RBS’s acquisition was officially announced, Bank of America Merrill Lynch had acquired ABN Amro’s US subsidiary, LaSalle Bank, along with ownership of its information technology unit. This unit held the licence for BankTrade from Complex Systems and therefore RBS’s use of the software led to the copyright lawsuit.
The RBS spokesperson adds to GTR: “Our clients remain our primary focus, and this settlement assures them of our continued commitment to our trade finance business. It provides them with the certainty they require for their immediate trade finance needs and their long-term strategic objectives.”
Complex Systems could not be reached for comment.