July 7, 1998 - Business Wire
“There is no hiding on the Internet,” says Kathy Kolbe, CEO of Kolbe Corp in Phoenix, which successfully defended its intellectual properties from being copied on-line.
Kolbe announced today a $950,000 settlement from John Furey of Ketchum, Id., and Humanagement Inc., formerly of Phoenix, for Furey’s infringing Kolbe’s unique properties related to the assessment of human instincts.
University students who had used Kolbe tests for career counseling tipped off Kolbe Corp when they found Furey’s ironically named ME2 test on the world wide web.
Federal Judge Charles Hardy determined in 1996 that multiple Kolbe works were highly original and were, therefore, copyright protectable. Chief Judge Robert C. Broomfield, of the Federal District Court of Arizona, later ruled that Furey, who had been trained by Kolbe, violated Kolbe’s copyrights when Furey took a look-alike program to the Internet.
“People seem to think the Internet gives you a license to violate copyrights,” says Kolbe’s attorney, David Tierney of Sacks Tierney in Phoenix, “but this case clearly demonstrates that rights of authorship are protectable, whether violated electronically or on paper. And it is a lot easier to find copyright infringers on the Internet.”
Furey’s website host, Sandbox Corp, of Phoenix, also conceded to pay Kolbe a substantial out of court settlement after the Sandbox CEO and other officers were deposed in the Furey case. Kolbe also recently was awarded damages through arbitration in a case against Australian, Paul Burgess.
“Kolbe’s groundbreaking work identifying creative instincts belongs to her and her alone,” said Tierney, “She has welcomed dialogue and has partnered in research worldwide, but she has proven that she will defend her work from unauthorized use.”
Controversy has surrounded Internet plagiarism. The court found that Furey was not entitled to disseminate Kolbe works on the web without permission. However, even after Furey was enjoined from doing so, he did not take down his website, which sold or gave away his version of Kolbe works. That resulted in his being found in contempt of court.
“Many other types of tests are given away on the Internet,” said Kolbe Corp’s general counsel, David Kolbe, “often that is because there is nothing unique or protectable about them. They do not have the years of research and validation of Kolbe works. The federal court has recognized that difference.”
Kolbe’s hallmark is its program for improving success rates in careers, relationships, and on project teams. Used by businesses and universities around the world, Kolbe index™ results rank four Kolbe Action Modes® which Judges Hardy and Broomfield found unlike any other measurement of human behavior. Kolbe’s description of stress resulting from the misuse of creative instincts was also determined to be unique.
Used worldwide by organizations such as Intel, Hershey, Quaker, and Chase Manhattan Bank, Kolbe works were made available to the broader public through www.Kolbe.com after the court required a shut down of Furey’s operation.
“Kolbe can finally be available to every individual through the internet,” said Tierney, “without fear of confusing it with an invalidated, potentially harmful copycat version.”
“Kolbe indexes are such powerful tools,” said David Kolbe, “We could not let people think they were getting the same level of accuracy just because Furey claimed to have a similar program.”
At www.kolbe.com individuals can complete Kolbe indexes which compare natural abilities, job requirements, and relationship desires. “Instincts differ completely from personality and intelligence,” says author Kathy Kolbe, “being nice and being smart doesn’t mean you will be good at everything you try. Our mission is to help people discover what they will do best.”