In 2004, I co-founded an Internet security company called Anakam. I was a programmer with some interesting ideas, and my business partner and I agreed at the time that I would receive 20%, and my partner 80% (he was financing the whole thing). We had a personal falling out in early 2005, and I left the company, always believing that my ownership was still intact. In October 2010, the company was sold for $64 million to Equifax. I found out about the sale after the fact; my partner had simply pretended that I never existed and had assumed my ownership. I am listed as the inventor on the company's first patent, which is still a key part of the company's product offerings today.
In February 2011, I sent a cease-and-desist letter to Equifax. They sent back a letter saying that they viewed my letter as an extortion attempt, and that if I did not immediately sign a settlement and and NDA that were included with their letter (without compensation), they would file a criminal complaint against me. After this, I showed my cease-and-desist letter to an attorney, who assured me that my letter was well within the law, but that their response was in fact extortion. There is a specific federal law that prohibits threatening to accuse someone of a crime unless they give you some form of consideration - in this case the outright dismissal of $12.8 million in claims. Their response came entirely out of left field, and I have not heard from them since the moment the attorney I showed the letter to told them that he believed their response was a violation of Federal extortion laws. The letter was signed by my former business partner, who was at the time still the CEO of the Anakam division of Equifax, and was, oddly enough, forwarded to me from their law firm.
I do not have the resources to pursue this matter at this time. I am told that I could have those involved in authoring and delivering the extortion letter prosecuted criminally (possibly including Equifax itself), but I have little interest in that right now.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can/should do in this situation? I have come to the realization that I may never see my $12.8 million, but the extortion really added insult to injury. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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