The US Army will pay Apptricity, a supply chain and financial software developer, $50 million to settle a copyright infringement claim that it used but didn't pay for thousands of copies of logistics management software.

Apptricity, of Irving, Texas, said it settled with the Army and the US Department of Justice for a fraction of the software's value. The Army was accused of not paying for 100 server and 9,000 device licences.

The company claimed its software worked "so well that it went viral". It was used in relief efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and in the Middle East to track the movement of equipment and supplies.

The settlement, reached through alternative dispute resolution proceedings, includes licences for ongoing use of the software by the Army.

The company's technology was picked by the Army in 2004 to be integrated into its Transportation Coordinators' Automated Information for Movements System II (TC-AIMS II).

The software tracks equipment in real time rather than just points on a map across different time zones, Apptricity said. It can show an item's location in a specific compartment on a plane or vehicle while travelling en route. A dashboard shows the location of goods and generates reports.