I Know Who Owns Think3′s Intellectual Property

There is a tremendous amount of confusion surrounding Think3. In an earlier post titled “Who Own’s Think3′s Intellectual Property?“, I wrote:

“…with Think3 going into bankruptcy and all its assets, including its web site, now being managed by a court appointed trustee, the burning question in my mind is exactly who owns the intellectual property of all the software of Think3?

At http://versata.think3.com Versata claims that it is the “exclusive licensee of intellectual property rights in the software that customers have licensed from the think3 family of businesses and other trusted resellers“. Which led me to believe that some other entity actually owns the intellectual property and has merely licensed it to Versata.

Apparently not. Scott Brighton, the CEO of Versata, sent me this clarification:

Versata FZ-LLC (Versata) did buy the IP from think3. The term license is used as a matter of contractual convenience (it’s a perpetual, irrevocable license, which is the same as ownership).

Regarding the loss of the Think3 web site, Scott wrote:

“We’ve had a few unanticipated issues that we’re working to fix, such as the loss of the website. However, we are working on a new, improved site that we expect to launch early next week. We will also be issuing daily update communications to our customer base on our progress, and I will also keep you informed.”

So it appears that Versata forgot to add the Think3 web site to their shopping cart when they went shopping for intellectual property. If that is the case then it sounds like a pretty bad goof up. I am hoping they made sure they bought the necessary trademarks and trade names as well, and not just source code.

Regarding Think3 going into bankruptcy, Scott explained:

“The entity which is now in receivership is the local Italian distribution company for Versata’s think3 product portfolio. Customers in Italy, however, will not be impacted. They will be serviced directly by Versata (at no additional cost) or, if they prefer, through one of our certified VARs in Italy.

There has been concern about the pace and quality of development of the Think3 family of products now that a significant portion of the Think3 development staff has been laid off. This video shows a deserted Think3 office in India. Scott updated me on the progress made by Versata on that front.

Versata is now focused on accelerating the pace of product development. A few statistics to the effect:

  • We’ve had 3 product releases since the acquisition, and the content of each release has accelerated. We expect this pace to continue as we strive to continue to ship monthly.
  • We’ve made vast improvements to support. At the time of acquisition, roughly 28% of our support interactions with customers were rated “Excellent”. As of last week, that number was at 75%.
  • We are hard at work on the Enterprise version of all think3 products. This will form the basis of the revitalization of the product portfolio.

Scott stressed the need to clear the confusion in the minds of Think3 customers. He said:

“…as you mention, we hope to use the May 3 webinar to provide as much information as we can. This is clearly a confusing period for think3 customers, but we see it as the beginning of the rebirth. We are committed to making the core products – which we have high regard for – market leaders again. We thank all our customers for their patience as we move from restructuring to revitalization.”

Now that the question regarding the ownership of the intellectual property of Think3 has been answered, I am now trying to find the answer to another question – “Who Bought Think3?

  • Toto

    Wow support with odesk with a big fake new realese 2011!! That’s all Versata can do with cao software! All this story is a shame for customers of think3 and anothers!  Scott back home please !this is the best solution for us! We don’t want to paid for a fake and listen a another webinar with words like”we make a new realesed since two years and we have fixe 300 bugs bla bla bla bla, and customer success ! We are not stupid! 

  • MD

    Scott Brighton appears to be occupying his time stamping out brush fires. Not very confidence inspiring. Does Versata have any prominent Think3 customers who’ll vouch, on the record, for support they’ve received and confidence in the holding company since the change of ownership/receivership/shutdowns, without reservation? It would be a good idea to wheel them out and parade them, because this rigmarole looks like deck chairs on the Titanic…

  • Alf

    The concept that ““The entity which is now in receivership is the local Italian distribution company for Versata’s think3 product portfolio. ” is quaint if nothing else. Before Versata entered the picture, Think3 Inc. held the entire product portfolio, while Think3 S.r.l. had the sales and PSO organizations. Both have now been declared bankrupt. In order to protect the rights of creditors and former employees rights, the court has the right to declare void and null any sales of asset dating back from (at least) one year since the date the company went into receivership – a standard procedure in this situation is for the court to freeze all the sales of property for the duration, a step the most often precedes reposesssion. Now. quoting from the official think3 website:

    “BY MEANS OF THE DECISION NO. 69/2011, LODGED ON 14 APRIL 2011, THE COURT OF BOLOGNA DECLARED THINK3 INC. BANKRUPT
    [...]
    EMBEZZLEMENT OF GOODS OF THE BANKRUPTCY (INCLUDING COPYING THIS WEBSITE OR OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF THINK3) CONSTITUTES A CRIMINAL OFFENCE.”

    So, exactly what part of “OTHER” (as in “OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY”) does Scott Brighton not understand?

    Sax

    P.S: please note that (to my knowledge) most of think3′s customer base is in Italy, so the conflict of international jurisdiction (if it indeed materializes) appears to be of strictly academic interest. Unless Versata can fight it out – and win it – in an Italian court of law, it has no customer base, no money, no cigar.

  • Nainar

    aaah! Finally, Versata FZ LLC is the owner of the IP.But they used the term licensee conveniently. Now that it is in the open and the Italian law specifically forbidding embezzlement of IP, on what grounds can the webinar happen? Will it be considered in contempt of Italian court’s verdict? Deelip, if you are being asked to be a moderator, you are being set up man!! You dont want to be below a fan, which has been hit by shit!.. As I said earlier, they have bitten more than they can chew!!

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    The job of a moderator is not to take sides. That is precisely what I am doing on this blog. I am trying to find the facts relevant to this case and give an opportunity for anyone who has anything useful to say about this case to say it. That’s all.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    I am most interested to know what exactly happened in that court room on Bologna. The fact that Versata is offering service for free (or being made to do so) in favor of Think3 Italy tells me that something else is involved here.

  • Nainar

    Deelip,if that is the case why is versata not putting the download link in their website?It is being sent surreptiously to customers.They dont want to seen publicly distributing Think3 new version.A moderator dont take sides but if i were you, i will write to the trustee about my intention to host a T3 webinar and ask him if it infringes law.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Err… They no longer have a web site, remember? According to Scott the “new improved site” is due to be launched early next week.

    As regards the trustee, I have yet to receive replies to my emails to him. I don’t think he wants to be involved in this more than he already is.

  • Banzai

    For all think3 customers,this morning i have sent an email like every day but this one seems to be very important!
    And i have sent it to the trustee,because i think he need infos about the causes of the bankruptcy ,i have just tell the truth about what happened following Versata acquisition and the relation with them.
    Also Versata knows that customer like me can’t change CAD system in a second they push me again to sign the WOW contract,and they really think that i’m stupid!!!!!
    they are incredibly easy to take you for a fool / idiot!!!!

  • JhonJhon

    Versata is now focused on accelerating the pace of product development. A few statistics to the effect:

    ■We’ve had 3 product releases since the acquisition, and the content of each release has accelerated. We expect this pace to continue as we strive to continue to ship monthly.

    Someone get this 3 (yes is claim 3) releases?

    ■We’ve made vast improvements to support. At the time of acquisition, roughly 28% of our support interactions with customers were rated “Excellent”. As of last week, that number was at 75%.

    Did someone try to solve some problems with versata customer care? If yes are you happy?

    ■We are hard at work on the Enterprise version of all think3 products. This will form the basis of the revitalization of the product portfolio.

    The 64 bit version should ready by the end of april …. will be tru. Wait and See

  • Sid

    Ownership: the name “Versata” is used on different occasions to refer to different entities (versata inc, versata enterprises inc, versata fz llc, versata software inc). Except fz llc (which is dubai based) all others are based out of same address in austin, texas. All of them seem to have same set of executives in different roles. Now they have come out clearly stating that fz llc is the owner of think3 IP. May be now they can also clarify if Scott is CEO of versata fz llc or of versata inc? And whats the legal relationship between inc and fz llc, if any?

    Improved Product: Many have said that 2011.1 is same as 2010.2, beta. It is very easy to verify this – compare the release notes of 2010.2 beta and 2011.1 (like JhonJohn has done – http://www.deelip.com/?p=5910&cpage=1#comment-191969044). The question the customers should be interested in is – what new development has been done since the new development team took over and how many bugs did the new development team fix?

  • Sid

    A friend just emailed me highlighting the COPYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER content of the 2011.3 release notes. According to it everything is still owned by think Inc! Is Versata releasing the product or is think3 Inc? Did Versata team forget to update this part when they copied the 2010.2 release notes? Some quotes from this section of release notes –

    “Think3 Inc. does not offer any warranty for fitness for a particular purpose regarding any information contained in this document and will not under any circumstances accept responsibility for any kind of loss or damages that either directly or indirectly results from the use of this document.”

    ” No part of this document may be photocopied, reproduced, or translated into another language without the prior written consent of think3 Inc.”

    ” Use, duplication, or disclosure by the U.S. Government is subject to restrictions as set forth in subparagraphs (c) (1) and (2) of Commercial Computer Software – Restricted rights at Federal Acquisition Regulation, 48 C.F.R. 52.227-19 (June 1987 or current version), and the limitations as set forth in think3 Inc.’s standard license agreement for this documentation.”

    “© 2001-2011 think3 Inc. All Rights Reserved.”

    “Think3, the think3 logo, ThinkDesign Styling, ThinkDesign Engineering, ThinkDesign Tooling, ThinkDesign Professional, thinkPLM, thinkteam are registered and unregistered trademarks of think3 Inc. “




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