Aurigin Systems Inc., which develops intellectual property analysis software, is operating without leadership, having lost its entire executive management team and board of directors earlier this month.
However, the Cupertino, Calif., company remains technically in business, and its servers, on which numerous Fortune 500 companies rely for IP asset management, are still running, according to former CEO Kevin Rivette.
Rivette told eWEEK that he and the board resigned over "something pretty upsetting," but he declined to elaborate, fearing disclosing details could prejudice developments in progress. When asked whether the company is in the process of trying to sell its assets, he said he did not know.
"Its a long, involved story," said Rivette, who is still a shareholder in the company. "This is a story that should probably be a book. Its really a tangled web."
The business was operating as intended at the end of the year when company officials abruptly left.
"The company still has almost every single employee down there working at minimum wage," Rivette said, adding that he did not know whether he would return to the company.
Lynne Saunders, former vice president of corporate marketing, said she left Aurigin Jan. 4, although she did not want to leave and she was not fired.
"Aurigin is still in business," Saunders said. "This was a very involved set of circumstances" that led to the departure of the management team.
Industry observers, shocked by the seemingly successful companys troubles, questioned what will become of Aurigins own intellectual property and its clients.
"They did have a lot of customers," said one industry source, who did not want to be identified. "This could be an opportunity for another player in the space to rally fortify a dominant position in this market."
Another intellectual asset management company, Chicago-based Delphion Inc., late last year was in the planning stages of moving into Aurigins target software market space, called intellectual property asset management systems.