BIW Technologies consults lawyers over Asite’s collaboration software, which it says is too similar to its own

Construction IT provider BIW Technologies is considering legal action against its rival Asite over similarities between the two companies’ software products.

A bitter row broke out after Asite developed its own collaboration software, Asite Project Workflow. Previously, Asite did not have its own software and resold BIW’s product, Information Channel, to its clients.

The two companies are backed by the industry’s leading advocates of partnering, Sir Michael Latham, who is BIW’s non-executive chairman and Sir John Egan, who is Asite’s chairman.

Colin Smith, chief executive of BIW Technologies, said that Asite had access to his company’s product for a long time. He said: “Our lawyers are in communication with Asite’s lawyers about passing off, broader issues about the two products and reseller issues.”

He said: “Having developed their own product we were concerned that the technology was similar. We have written asking to see their product but they have refused.”

Smith added that feedback indicated that Project Workflow was very similar to Information Channel and described it as “a clone product”.

However Tom Dengenis, Asite chief operating officer, has strongly denied Smith’s claim. He said: “We refute every allegation they have made. These guys are just threatened and they are doing everything they can to deal with it.”

He added: “We never saw their application; we only had access to the public websites. There was no chance to reverse engineer their software.”

BIW’s Smith is also angry about claims made in Asite’s marketing literature for Project Workflow. This contains a series of case studies where Asite’s services were used without mentioning BIW, which says its software was used in those cases. Smith said: “That is a clear case of passing off.”

Dengenis countered the allegation of passing off by saying that Asite’s collaboration services were much more than just its software product.

Asite was set up in 2000 with the objective of bringing greater efficiency into the industry by providing a range of electronic solutions.

These include project collaboration, e-tendering, supply-chain integration solutions, and support and advice on changing business process to get the maximum benefits from software solutions.

BIW set up in the 1990s by developing an electronic project collaboration tool allowing project team members to swap information in a secure environment.

Asite started reselling BIW project collaboration solution Information Channel in 2001.