Update on the lawsuit iATN and Identifix filed against Diagnostic Network and its founders

Diagnostic Manager Claremont, California Posted   Latest   Edited  

In early 2018, Scott Brown and Thomas Winzig left iATN, where they had spent decades developing and growing that community. While they were at iATN, working hard to build and run a platform for automotive professionals, the ownership of the company changed hands several times, culminating with a company called Solera Holdings.

After trying to work with Solera management for roughly 3 years, and with no non-compete agreements in place, Scott and Thomas made the decision to leave and build what would become Diagnostic Network. While the implementation details were in flux during the initial development phase, the vision here was simple: we wanted to build a modern community that would allow industry professionals to continue to grow, learn, and support complex vehicle repairs. Having grown our member base considerably in the past 20 months, we have made progress towards this vision.

As some of you now know, a few days before publicly launching DN at the end of May 2018, iATN and Identifix filed a lawsuit against us. Not just DN, but also Scott, Thomas, and other longtime former iATN employees. The lawsuit claims that Diagnostic Network, Scott, Tom, and other past iATN employees had taken their intellectual property and used it to create Diagnostic Network. To be clear, this is completely false. On the contrary, one of the wonderful things about building a new platform from scratch is being able to leave behind legacy code and start fresh. 

In the following months, we explained that our employees used nothing from iATN/Identifix, and everyone involved with DN and this lawsuit has backed that up in sworn legal declarations and depositions. We also immediately offered to let them examine our source code and database to set their mind at ease. Unfortunately, it took over a year before they inspected our source code. We gave them not just the current copy of our code, but the entire history of every change to our source code made since we began work on DN, and they found nothing. (No surprise to us!)

This has been a long, grueling and expensive case. We have spent a lot of money in legal fees that could have gone to furthering the Diagnostic Network vision. The costs have caused us to reduce our staff and slowed down our ability to deliver new features to the platform. But even more importantly, we’ve had the distraction, stress, and personal toll that comes with being accused and sued by a billion-dollar company. 

With all of the legal discovery completed, and our belief that this case is a frivolous attempt to put us out of business, we have filed a summary judgment motion to have the lawsuit dismissed. If that motion is not successful, we are scheduled for trial December 10–24 in Los Angeles. (Happy Holidays!) 

We have been quiet about this case, under our attorneys’ advisement, with only one post about it in the last 20 months since it began. But now that we have clearly demonstrated to iATN that we are not using their intellectual property, and they are persisting with the lawsuit, we are going to start updating our community more frequently until the matter is resolved. We have nothing to hide and look forward to shining a light on all of this as much as legally possible. Trials are generally open to the public. Please contact us if you are interested in attending. We will keep our members updated with the trial as much as we’re allowed to by the presiding judge.

After our first message in August about the lawsuit, some of you mentioned the idea of supporting us with a “go fund me.” We were all so touched that so many of you offered to help in this way, but we were advised against it. The best thing you can do to help us is to get the word out about our community, and invite your colleagues to join us. If you are not already a premium member, upgrading will help support the growth and future of Diagnostic Network.

On behalf of the entire DN team, we are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to getting past this and being able to focus exclusively on building Diagnostic Network. 

Update (Oct 13, 2020): Conclusion of the lawsuit

+60
Mike Motto Mechanic
Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Mike Motto Default
   

Thank you for the update! Best of luck! Diag​.​net is a great repair tool and I want to see it thrive and continue!

+5 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Andre Evelyn Smith Engineer
Homebush, Australia
Andre Evelyn Smith Default
 

Hi guys,

I have been watching your progress with this case and wish you well.

I have been a member with Auto Data Australia for some years and have just cancelled my affiliation because they are part of the Solera group.

This is just my little bit towards supporting the good cause.

Regards,

Andre.

+7 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Ric Morin Owner/Technician
Hooksett, New Hampshire
Ric Morin Default
 

I am glad to hear this, and not surprised. It's ironic this announcement comes on the heels of iAtn announcing their own 'bounty' program.

+11 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Bob Powell Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Bob Powell Default
 

Right, whose taking whose intellectual property now?

+6 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Amoroso Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Amoroso Default
 

Nah Ric, I'm good. 

diag​.​net/file/f7kocacuy…

BTW, more communication from them in the past week about this than anything else in over a year. Gotta luv it! Nada on the site. I only saw it on the FB page. Since I don't use FB, I wouldn't have known about it if you didn't post. Excellent marketing execution.

Guido

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Chris Groff Diagnostician
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Chris Groff Default
 

Glad to hear that DN is making forward progress and will continue to grow with the greater community within the industry.

Thank you for the update. 

+5 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Andrew Minkler Owner/Technician
Capitol Heights, Maryland
Andrew Minkler Default
   

I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Thomas but I seem to bump into Scott everywhere I go and always enjoy the enthusiasm he brings to every discussion. 

DN clearly embodies your personal drive to grow the industry to a higher standard than it's ever seen, which I believe anybody who has ever met Scott can attest to!

Sad to see what you have all been put through, but thank you for continuing the course to bring the brightest in the industry together! 

For our sake and yours, best of luck and anything we can do, say the word.

+5 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Cleary Instructor
Fresno, California
Mike Cleary Default
   

I know as a founding member I am not supposed to be charged the annual $199 fee anymore, but please continue to bill me for this on an annual basis. First off, I don't ever expect to receive something for nothing, and more importantly, the DN platform is an extremely important resource to our industry. 

By doing this I am hoping you can use my annual fee to help defray some of your associated legal costs. It's the least I can do.

Keep up the great work!

+18 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Dale Nelson Diagnostician
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Dale Nelson Default
 

From my knowledge the fee is substantially less than that per year, $40 I think. From what I read those who’d paid the fee when the change was announced would have their subscriptions extended until the fee was used up. I very well could’ve misspoken as I signed up in the wee morning hours as I’d contemplated a few weeks before signing up but pulled the trigger around 3-4 a.m. one morning while having lack of sleep.

I’d read about it and the further I read it persuaded me to sign up. You could check with someone who’s more in the know to do with the website though. My understanding is there’s 2 levels, free and premium ($40 per year) unless I missed something about this?

I joined as it’s good to see what problem solving others are doing out there and it also helps to see the responses as people face some issues that you may not see much in your area vs a shop in another cold are halfway across the country that faced the same issue and opted about it and got it resolved. Something like that is worth the $40 and then some especially if it’ll save you a lot of headache.

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Tom Winzig Engineer
Claremont, California
Tom Winzig Default
 

Thanks for the kind words. Based on (unexpected 😂) popular demand, we've now made it possible for members to opt-out of their free Premium subscriptions, if they would like. This is completely optional, but it was easier to implement this than to process them manually on an as-needed basis. 

If anyone is interested in this, please refer to diag​.​net/billing. You'll see an opt-out option in a green box up top if this applies to your account. We'll probably announce this more widely in the next few weeks. 

Thanks, everyone!

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Agree
Thanks
Craig O'Neill Manager
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Craig O'Neill Default
 

I firmly trust the integrity of the DN team. I look forward to the unrestrained future once this all clears.

+6 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Philip Baum Owner/Technician
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Philip Baum Default
 

Keep in mind that if the judge rules in your favor, and this case is demonstrated to be frivolous, then they will have to pay your legal fees. Not sure if this is law in Ca. But it is in Pa.

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jaime Lazarus Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida
Jaime Lazarus Default
 

Would it be in DN's interest (or the legal team representing DN) if I, or any other (VERY) long-term subscriber to i-ATN were to testify, bear witness in a court of law, provide a deposition or do anything else to support your statement that DN has not done anything for which it is being accused?

My hat's in the ring.

+12 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Bob Howard Educator
Berkeley, California
Bob Howard Default
 

Speaking Truth to Power: often punishing, expensive, long and drawn out.

I'm a long-time iATN member--and a Diagnostic Network member too. (Okay...I guess I'm now described as an iATN "customer.") There's plenty of room in the world for both platforms.

Thank you for fighting the good fight.

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Gerardo Vázquez Owner
Schaumburg, Illinois
Gerardo Vázquez Default
 

Thanks for the update. Lets go DN we can do it.

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Edwin Hazzard Mobile Technician
Charleston, South Carolina
Edwin Hazzard Default
 

Nowadays it seems iatn/identifix is in it for the money. Diag​.​Net is in it for the technician. Since Scott left iatn the site lost alot of its technician camaraderie and the feeling that iatn is for the technician and in the technician's best interest. I stand behind Diag​.​Net because I know its 100% for the technician. 

+12 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Edwin Brewer Technician
Ogden, Utah
Edwin Brewer Default
 

Just recently heard of & joined DN. Absolutely love it. Have been a member of IATN for over a decade. Lately IATN has been disappointing at best. Maybe they should focus on their service instead of worrying about a lawsuit. 

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
John Zeiss Technician
Sarasota, Florida
John Zeiss Default
 

Thanks for the update. I'm sure right will triumph over wrong in this case. Hang in there and we all support you Scott, Tom and crew. 

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Albin Moore Diagnostician
Leavenworth, Washington
Albin Moore Default
 

My hat is off to you guys for building this fine system of sharing. I can only see good things happening here. Thanks Tom & Scott for your dedication to this industry.

+5 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Bauld Mobile Technician
Rimforest, California
David Bauld Default
   

I haven't logged on to iATN in well over a year, However, I use identifix as my go to Service Info source. Perhaps I need to rethink that and find an alternative. Davie

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Dale Nelson Diagnostician
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Dale Nelson Default
 

Depending on your scan tool brand there may be some deals. Pay ~~~$145ish with snap on and they only wanted my snap on scan tool serial number (12 mo agreement). I use shop key pro on the snappy scan tool, Bosch ads-625 , android phone, laptop and iPads when on the road tethered to my phone. FYI if not using same IP address have them put in contract that you’re a mobile diagnostics guy that way they don’t cut ur service thinking ur sharing with others (Big No No, Not worth it, you’ll lose)

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Victor Austin Mobile Technician
Chillicothe, Ohio
Victor Austin Default
 

Thanks for the update.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Robert Chabot Diagnostician
Oldsmar, Florida
Robert Chabot Default
   

I stopper sponsoring the iATN many years ago and left all together because I couldn’t post anything without being felt like I was being cyber bullied. what was once a safe place to learn from one another turned into a scene from Wednesday night Smackdown. I’ve joined this community just fairly recently and see allot of names that have resurfaced from the shadows. So glad to be back in the house of those who I have long respected and enjoyed their company And expertise. 

+5 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Timothy Rivers Diagnostician
Evans, Georgia
Timothy Rivers Default
 

Hey Scott and Thomas, Keep up the great work you do for us. I like the content here better. Reading the cases at iATN lately. It seems that a lot of backyard people have invaded the content. I like DN and dealing with people who speak the language and understand what you are saying. Meaning true professionals who do the work every day. Not someone trying to fix their car on the cheap. I'll spread the word about DN. Best regards, Tim

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
G Jerry Truglia Educator
Mahopac, New York
G Jerry Truglia Default
 

Scott and Thomas ....thanks for the update ...hoping it ends real soon for you guys. You have done a great job building this network that is about helping techs and shop owners. Thank you again for all your hard work, vision and effort to lift up our industry. Hats off my friend...

+6 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jacques Gordon Technician
Devon, Pennsylvania
Jacques Gordon Default
 

.....What he said goes for me too.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Smith Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin Smith Default
 

Scott, Tom and crew, keep up the good fight. We members have never for a moment doubted your integrity throughout this ordeal. Your continued efforts and will that Diagnostic Network should survive against the odds, is to be commended. 

Best regards,

+8 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Rob Walker Owner/Technician
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Rob Walker Default
 

I'm quite sure you guys are going to come out on top in this situation. Wishing you all the best and thanking you not only for what done here but also for what you did in the past at iATN.

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Bill Kenel Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Kenel Default
 

Thanks for the update! And Thank you so much to Scott and Thomas for creating the most professional forum in the industry! I have been/was a paid member of IATN for 13 years I recently changed that...The atmosphere had become so negative and unhelpful I feared to ask a question any further. I also would gladly pay a higher rate than currently charged to belong to this site when you guys lowered the price I couldn't understand it.... Good luck with your lawsuit and thanks for fighting to keep DN alive

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Jim Morton Mobile Technician
Southampton, Pennsylvania
Jim Morton Default
 

Scott , Thomas and all of the others with the Diagnostic Network, THANK YOU for showing us what Leadership and Integrity is all about. From the early days of IATN up to present day with DN you have not only help the automotive repair industry keeping up with the technology but also showed us all the PROPER way to build a business. On a much smaller scale, like Seth, I received a certified letter from BMW years ago threaten a law suit stemming from advertisement of our large BMW customer base. The first thing our attorney said was "You are doing it RIGHT, You have them scared, they wouldn't do anything if you weren't a threat". I say the same with the Diagnostic Network, YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT. I'm sure there are A LOT just like myself that left the IATN after almost 20 years when the Diagnostic Network was launched. I feel the same as Mike Cleary, I would also approve of being billed for the pleasure of having the Diagnostic Network. I would NOT want to see our industry without this GREAT resource.

+9 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Daresi Owner/Technician
Milton, Ontario
David Daresi Default
 

Wishing y'all the best in this legal escapade. I want to THANK EVERYONE VERY MUCH for the EXCELLENT work that you did putting this site together. This site has ALL the good things that are helpful to make professional motor vehicle repair possible. Take Care. Best Regards. Keep us all posted. Harley.

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Hobbs Instructor
Kokomo, Indiana
David Hobbs Default
   

IATN - I Ain't Tested Nothing (posts for help)

IATN - I Always Talk Nasty (discussion forums)

I know that's a hyperbole. There are still good technicians on IATN. I apologize to them if my tongue and cheek acronyms sound so unprofessional and negative that they're almost juvenile. But that's become my opinion of a company that sues industry champions and all around nice guys like Scott Brown. I hate to cancel my access to IATN but I honestly haven't logged in to IATN (except to get my credit card receipts) for over a year thanks to all the great posts and people on DN. God bless you Scott! May justice prevail in what is truly a David and Goliath court battle!

Update: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Attributed to Edmund Burke and quoted by John F Kennedy in a speech in 1961. The true definition of the word "evil" may be a bit of a stretch and perhaps should be reserved for violent offenders. However, the sentiment was on my heart when I logged on to cancel my IATN membership just now. My "Dear IATN" departure letter;

"The lawsuit against the Diagnostic Network is simply a David and Goliath story where NOBODY roots for the Philistine. You have lost my trust and therefore my membership as well. I'll not encourage anyone I come in contact with professionally (which is a pretty decent size group of technicians) to consider IATN until Solera settles their lawsuit against DN in a professional and courteous manner."

+13 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Amoroso Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Amoroso Default
 

Hi Dave:

I'm curious if you get a response similar to the one below. (Others have said that they were asked why. Guess that I'm "special".) My initial contact is at the bottom. The attachment was a screenshot of the billing information page. The "personal touch" makes it oh so worthwhile.

"Hi Anthony,

Per your request, your sponsorship has been canceled. Your account was paid through 09/16/2019, so you will have access to the premium membership areas until that date. After that, you will still have a free, basic membership on iATN. 

Although we hope you won't, if you wish to remove your account completely, you may do so here:

members​.​iatn​.​net/cancel

There are many features that you may or may not be aware of on iATN, so we're providing the following links that provide a great place to start in recognizing the rich discussions taking place on iATN in helping solve today's tough issues.

We think you'll agree that learning and sharing amongst your peers will provide you and your staff with valuable perspective.

We also host a video tutorial page covering most of iATN's popular features that can be accessed here:

members​.​iatn​.​net/video

If you have any questions, or if we can be of any help, please let us know.

Have a great day, and thanks for your business!

Regards,

iATN Billing Support

billing@iatn.net

Note: Please include the original message with your reply. Billing is handled by multiple people.

>***********************************************************************

>*************** This email contained attachment 19 09 08 iatn cc​.​jpg, 

>which was stripped.

>***********************************************************************

>***************

>

>

>Hi:

>

>

>Please cancel my premium membership subscription on 9-13-2019. I will 

>maintain my basic membership.

>

>

>Also, I'm confused about something. The screen shows that my card does 

>not expire before the next billing period though the card expired on 8-31-2019.

>

>

>Thank you,

>

>

>Anthony Amoroso

>

>"

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Hobbs Instructor
Kokomo, Indiana
David Hobbs Default
 

Hi Anthony - As expected I've not received a response from IATN regarding my cancellation with candid and detailed reason. 

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Albin Moore Diagnostician
Leavenworth, Washington
Albin Moore Default
 

I got about the same reply from them when I quit,,,,, after being a sponsoring member for 20 years. Their reply was a little on the cold side to say the least.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Bob Howard Educator
Berkeley, California
Bob Howard Default
 

Hello Albin,

That's because it's a computer-generated reply. They don't know who you are--nor do they care. Albin Moore--and many others who have contributed heavily to the other forums--don't count more than any of the silver bullet-seekers. (Or at least you won't, as soon as asking for a fix is "monetized" properly. And honestly, it's probably more remunerative to sell fish, than teach people how to catch their own. It's recurring income--and possibly no one will be able to read for free. )

Search the web for suits involving the holding company; the original owner sued the equity partners he sold too, I believe. Then that case was dismissed. All around, not a fun bunch. People complain about the government--but you have seen nothing till the "equity partners" get behind the wheel. Which is why, someday, when some bean counter decides they can save a bit of money every month, not archiving the non-fix forums, they'll disappear overnight. And when the members howl and cancel, they'll get the "per your request" email.

I believe the suit by the founder was for something like $100 million. (It settled for less.) But in the great scheme of things, the iATN is a gnat. I like iATN and will continue to use and support it--as who knows when it will just disappear? 

I now await the roll-out of "exciting new features."

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Dale Nelson Diagnostician
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Dale Nelson Default
 

Would love to see if that gets a reply from them begging for you to come back.

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Neil Sunday Owner/Technician
Kokomo, Indiana
Neil Sunday Default
 

Hi Dave, I'm really glad to see you here. I completely understand and in total agreement with you. Tell your mom and sister I said hello. They're wonderful people!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Hobbs Instructor
Kokomo, Indiana
David Hobbs Default
 

Thank you Neil! Will pass that along to Mom and Deb. Thanks for being a DN supporter!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Pam Oakes Owner/Technician
Tampa, Florida
Pam Oakes Default
 

You got them running scared right out of the gate: lawsuit. iATN nervous, upset with the fact your platform is a better fit for today’s techs. And, yes, they’re trying to bankrupt the program; bully their way out of competition. Who do they think they are, “Standard Oil?” (And we all know the outcome of that suit...) Amazing at what lengths companies (people) will go based on fear of their unknown future versus facts. We’re behind you-guys 100 percent!

+12 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Gil Sher Manager
Woollahra, Australia
Gil Sher Default
 

Thanks for the update Looking forward to more exiting things when you don’t have this on your head

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Alejandro Hueso Technician
San Diego, California
Alejandro Hueso Default
 

I am interested in attending the trial please let me know details so I can see when I can go. 

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
John E. Mills Diagnostician
Yorba Linda, California
John E. Mills Default
 

And I thought recertifying my A9 on 12-28-19 was a holiday killer. I think you got me beat. Happy Holidays and stay strong.

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Dale Nelson Diagnostician
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Dale Nelson Default
 

Great things happening, just look at the people collaborating and the sponsors over here. Love reading the case studies. Brain food....

Keep up the great work. Please don’t come after me for the initials DN as that’s my actual initials. I keep thinking I’m getting email from myself daily, Lol ...

Loved the forum when I found it. You have people that've been around awhile. I’ve seen some posts about references to how they’re may be inexperienced people posting in the old group from where a lot of people here migrated from.

Please bear and keep in mind we were all new, inexperienced, maybe didn’t and or still don’t know all the answers and probably won’t either. Help those that ask for help so the torch gets passed appropriately as that’s the only way things will get done right in this industry. A great user experience will come of it if nurtured properly.

There’s a lot of shoes that’ll need to be filled each decade and the best way is use the approach of “no question is a dumb / rookie question”. We all learn and grow at different rates.

Networking is key for the future even if a new or old guy, schooled or not schooled. Some people aren’t “shown the way” growing up but have unbelievable untapped skills and maybe they’ll get in here and learn and shine bright and be part of the next generation keeping this industry aliv as we see it and not how some large corporate structure sees fit as we’ve witnessed those corporate structures bully and sue to try to get you to fail. We all need to succeed!

Leave no mechanic behind!!

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mitzio Garay Diagnostician
Iquique, Chile
Mitzio Garay Default
 

Friends that more surprising news ... I wish you the best and that this lawsuit becomes only a bad nightmare ... Diag​.​net is much better than other platforms, cooler, faster, since it has helped me in the last months to improve my knowledge much more every day thanks to the cases that each colleague in this community has shared ... An excellent tool for information and study and help for my students in the technical training center that I currently teach .. Many thanks friends!! God always be with you .. 

Blessings You are the best!!!

Regards!

Mitzio from Chile

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded