Peace in our time: Vayant and Everbread settle long-running dispute

A bitter row between airfare shopping technology startups Vayant and Everbread, which ended up in the courts,  is over – with a settlement agreed last week.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed, but all hostilities between the pair are now over in three jurisdictions: UK, US and the Netherlands.

The threat of legal action and subsequent case has rumbled along for the best part of 18 months, with confirmation that Everbread was indeed on the receiving end of live lawsuit only coming last week via a Vayant official.

It is still unclear exactly what were the precise terms of the lawsuit, but in July 2010 officials at Vayant sent a letter to Everbread alleging it had hired about nine of the companies’ ex-employees and launched a competing product with similar functionality “at breakneck speed” by using “confidential information and/or by copying their copyright programs”.

At the time, Everbread said there was no merit in the claims and declined to comment any further, but Vayant was – in short – accusing the rival, including the now president and co-founder Assen Vassilev, of switching sides and taking the technical code to entrepreneur Morten Lund’s Everbread.

It now appears the war is over, with both sides confirming a “global settlement” over the weekend and pledging to now concentrate efforts on their own products rather than each other.

In a joint statement, Everbread CEO Lund says:

“We are very pleased to have resolved all issues between us and Vayant, and are now looking forward to developing our business with our Haystack code.”

For Vayant, CEO Brian Clark adds:

“Vayant is delighted to set aside all disputes so that we can concentrate on competing with our OneSearchTM platform in the marketplace and not in the courtroom.”

The circumstances leading up to the row and subsequent action has been hanging over the pair for months, a period which has unfortunately seen increased activity in the marketplace as companies seek alternatives to ITA Software for airfare shopping and pricing following its acquisition by Google and a thumbs-up to deal from US regulators.

Meanwhile, circumstances surrounding Vassilev’s former company Lessno, which spawned Vayant, have become confusing once again.

When the threat of legal action by Vayant against Everbread emerged in 2010, Lessno was at the same time being sued by Vassilev in the US.

Vassilev was listed as a creditor when Lessno was placed into Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in 2009, after he had left the business for Everbread.

He was seeking to recover unsecured claims of almost $90,000 as part of a promissory note created about 10 days before the bankruptcy filing.

Founded in 2006, Lessno, which had offices in Sofia, Bulgaria, New York and Philadelphia,  operated a discount airfare website and was a joint venture of Smart Travel Network and EZSearch, which became Vayant Travel Technologies.

Neveq, a private equity fund specializing in eastern European startups, provided approximately $3.9 million in funding to Lessno.

In the summer of 2010, officials claimed the action being taken by Vassilev was independent of Everbread – although the company now says it cannot discuss any details about Lessno as it is also included in the settlement last week.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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