Stolen plugin source code and counter DCMA notice

Almost 3 years ago, Envato hired us to develop a plugin that will be added to the platform against an incentive. So we developed our plugin which has been valided. We made it perfect and it’s selling well. In January an author, who previously bought the same plugin from started reselling our plugin on codecanyon (our entire source code) and made some ajustments to it. The plugin design (backend and frontend) and our library and code structure has been kept. The author simply renamed few custom post types and classes, added some settings here and there and that’s it. We issued a DCMA takedown noticed against him. He did not even tried to argue that he build his product using ours. But then he sent a counter DCMA notice. So Envato is basically saying that if we don’t start a legal procedure against him, the item will be reinstated in 14 days. This is very frustrating. How can Envato allow this? How can we, an african company who has no partners or no attorneys in the US can start a procedure against an US company who basically stole our source code and product?

Hold on, dude, the fact that you’re from Africa won’t help you, but the fact that that guy stole your code will help you a lot.

For cases like this, it’s all about PROOF and FACTS

You mentioned “it’s selling well”. Which platform did you sell your product on?? (this can help determining if that guy is stealing your code or not)

Do you have all the rights to sell that code? (since you stated Envato hired you to do something. If you signed something that forbid you to have the right to sell the code, you may lose)

Did you sell him something like an “Extended License” that let him sell the code?

Can you show the parts that are similar in both your code and the other guy’s code?

If you can show proofs that the other guy’s code is similar to yours, you are the legible owner of the code, and he has no right to sell the code, you will be very much likely to win this DMCA thing :slight_smile:

Thank you for replying. I’m an exclusive author so I’m selling only on codecanyon. So is he. We’ve signed a contract that forbids me to sell that code anywhere else for 2 years. These two years were already over but we decided to keep selling only here. About the proofs, yes I have. And he is not denying that either. He only claimed that he added some features and improved the original source code and is now reselling it. This is not about a DCMA anymore. After they issued a counter DCMA, envato is not ruling this thing at all. They have copies of our source codes and changes history. Here is a copy of their answer:

"The author of the item you lodged a DMCA take down notice against has sent us a DMCA counter notification (“put back” notice). We have attached a copy of the counter notification to this message.

The item will now be reinstated between 10 and 14 business days from when we received the counter notice, but the item will not be reinstated if we receive evidence from you that you have commenced legal proceedings against the author about their item."

How am I supposed to start a legal proceeding against an US company from here?

Screenshots taken from his demo:

Screenshots taken from ours:

All the screenshots are named the same way so they can easily be compared one against another.