In the early ’90s allegations came to light that Avant!, a Silicon Valley software company, had stolen code from a rival company, Cadence Design Systems. This became more than a simple case of unscrupulous business practices when prosecutors filed charges and, in 2001, Avant! was ordered to pay $182 million in restitution plus interest and fees, for a total of $200 million.
Worse still for Avant!, the closing of the criminal case meant that Cadence was finally able to proceed with its own civil case. Not content with a paltry $200 million, Cadence settled with Avant!, who’d since been bought by Synopsys, for a further $265 million. If a company could figure out a way to arrange this kind of profit, they wouldn’t be doing badly.