Managing director of BDML Connect Paul Cosh has dramatically left the company. This coincided with allegations made against the broker regarding bogus emails containing "malicious falsehoods".

The allegations relate to the ongoing patent dispute involving Roderick Lawrie, the owner of InCom Licensing, and a group of brokers, including BDML.

Inventor Lawrie claims to own the patent on software that searches for best product prices on the internet.

Consequently, Lawrie is demanding that any broker running such a system should pay a fee for using the software.

Lawrie recently received a bogus email, signed in his name, in which it was claimed that the inventor was mistaken in thinking he could demand money for a licence.

The email, which carried a signature purporting to be Roderick Lawrie's, said: "I mistakenly thought I could ask you for money for a licence.

"I have checked the situation and realise my mistake. Please ignore all previous correspondence from me."

It is not clear how many of the brokers fighting Lawrie's claim also received the email.

BDML chief executive Sandy Dunn confirmed Cosh had left the company. "Paul left towards the end of August. I am not prepared to say any more, because it is an internal affair.

"I am aware of the InCom dispute over Mr Lawrie patent claim. We don't agree that we are infringing his patent. So far we have not paid him any monies. I hope to settle this dispute in due course."

Allen & Allen, Endsleigh, Confused, Budget, Swinton, inspop, Hastings, DirectChoice, and Kwik-Fit are among the brokers who have decided to pool their resources to try to defeat Lawrie's claim.

Lawrie said he reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police computer crime unit, who traced the source of the email to BDML.

Lawrie subsequently notified BDML Holdings chief executive Keith Morris on 1 August that the email was "sent from a bogus address set up in my name, and contained the malicious falsehood that I had mistakenly asked for payment of licence fees on behalf on InCom Licensing".

Lawrie is currently considering suing the broker.