A judge has found Roman Cisar guilty of stealing a secret software code from a Kitchener company and then using it to establish a competing business.

Fifty-year-old Cisar has always maintained his innocence, but on Thursday a judge decided he didn't believe his story.

The alleged theft dates back to 1996 when the code, worth over $15 million, for a software program called Imagenation was stolen from the Spicer Corporation where Cisar worked.

The trial itself has dragged on for 19 months. Prosecutors alleged Cisar used the code to start a new company in the Czech Republic.

But Cisar claimed it was part of an arrangement with Steven Spicer, the founder of the Spicer Corporation, to take advantage of cheaper European labour costs.

Spicer passed away in 2007, so there was no direct evidence of the alleged secret deal.

But sfter credible testimony from Spicer employees, the judge decided Cisar's story didn't make any sense.

Crown prosecutor Neil Dietrich says "I think it comes down to the idea that you don't give away the goose that lay the golden egg, and that's exactly what the source code was, it was the golden egg…the idea that it would simply just be handed over without any sort of agreement for Mr. Cisar to go off to Europe to verify data was simply incredible."

While the judge was critical of authorities for a lengthy lapse in the investigation from 1999 to 2007, he credited the company for taking swift action.

Waterloo's Open Text Corp. purchased the Spicer Corporation in 2008, and is continuing civil action against Cisar.

Cisar will be sentenced in April.