Italian Court Directs Versata To Stop Using The Think3 Trademark

I got wind of another email sent to Think3 customers by the court appointed trustee of Think3 Italy.

Dear Customers,

On July 25 2011 Bologna Court has issued a cross border restraining order against Versata with the following key points:

  • Versata FZ-LLC is inhibited from diffusing untruthful and disgracing news about activity of Think3 Trustee;
  • Versata FZ-LLC is inhibited from using “Think3” trademark, registered with n.001207893 after request on 16 June 1999, in whatever way, including inserting it in the web domain www.think3.versata.com;
  • A euro 5.000,00 fine is applied for each violations of the previous orders and is précised that “think3” name has to be removed by 15 days since the date of communication of this order.

You can see the complete Court official records at this link

Best regards

Dott. Andrea Ferri

This is becoming complicated sooner than I thought. Frankly, I expected Versata to be on the offensive. But it looks like the Italian trustee is going all guns blazing and has taken the fight to Versata. I must say he has succeeded in getting pretty favorable judgements from the Italian court.

The real question is how this Italian restraining order is going to be enforced in the real world. Is Versata going to re-brand Think3 to something else? I don’t think so. Recently Versata made a big noise when it won a patent suit against SAP where a jury directed SAP to pay Versata $345 million. A company that took on the likes of SAP and won doesn’t come across to me as one which will obey this Italian restraining order.

  • Rudrekanth

    The $345 Million is something that SAP has taken to a higher court. The said amount is not given to Versata….We must admit that SAP is a powerful brand and can fight the likes of many Versata’s…:-)

  • Happierfamily

    Everytime one of my friends would say “I was engaged to this girl and she was fantastic! We had such a great relationship” I would say “and if the relationship was so great and she was so fantastic, where is she now?”

    Probably had that girlfriend gone back into my friend’s arms, all the reasons why they had split up in the first place would have been clear all of a sudden.

    A broken vase might be glued, but if you try to resell it you are selling a broken vase. Let’s not try to make it look as intact fine porcelain. It’s a broken vase, worth a few bucks.

    Very basic.

  • Ken

    I think this whole Think3 thing is incredibly confusing… I’m sure any potential customers have been scared away, and if I was an existing customer I would be looking for a replacement quick.

    • By the time Versata and Dr. Ferri are done with each other, there may not be enough customers left for the winning party.

      This is a race to the bottom.

      • Arthur

        This judgement is only enforceable in Italy. As if the rest of the world cares !

        • But isn’t Italy where most of Think3’s customer base is located?

  • camus

    Being Italy member of the European Union, the judgment is enforceable in the whole Europe not just in Italy.

    • Aw100123

      Totally wrong. It is only applicable in Italy.

      • Nainar

        So typical!US is not the world mate!There is civilization outside of US and there are courts and judgements will have to be enforced in the US also even if issued by an outside court! We will wait and see.But if the news is right most of the major customers of Think3 didnt renew their association with Versata causing Versata to file a rejoinder in the US Courts.Unlike t3 Italy, T3 Inc is run by lawyers and bankruptcy professionals with no software dev/Support professionals onboard.So is Versata and no wonder they are holding a piece of paper wanting customers to pay but customers are wise!

        • Arthur

          I admire your optimism in the face of adversity. Look, I have no animosity with T3 Italy’s technical team as I praise them hugely for their great skill and vision in creating such a great software tool. I only have problem with the management there, who were let’s say at best incompetent and at worst deluded. Only they are to blame for this crisis as the sales were flagging, but continued to spend money like there’s no tomorrow, not only were they insolvent but had problems accounting for the debts. Take my word for this as I have seen this at a closer level than you, and before you say that I am a lawyer, I am not. Infact very technical. We are witnessing economic melt-down on global proportions these days and the common message is to live within one’s means.
          We all hate to see the demise of T3 as we knew it, but it could not be sustained. Perhaps you have a personal axe to grind against Versata, but I welcome the fact that this episode just might help T3 shape up for the future. Consider it as a measure of austerity.

          • Nainar

            Mate, I have nothing personal against Versata.I did not even know they existed before they came into the picture with T3. But I have seen the financials of T3 closely after the merger and can tell you, $3 million for a 30 year CAD product in terms of IP, is bullshit. I know for sure that many OEM customers pay 1/5 th of that towards annual maintenance. ESW Capital  bought T3 and sold the IP, undervaluing it so much so as to get rid of the debts, rather than addressing it. It is for the courts in the US to decide and it will be decided soon. Courts in Italy have pronounced their verdict. Indian courts will do so when the cases come for hearing. But let me tell you, Versata may have succeeded in other ventures, but with T3 they are doomed if they pursue current approach. They should value technology and how MCAD companies  and customers operate. So, good luck as you have seen the data closer. And I presume you are close to Versata management as well.But Versata model of not respecting product development. Versata can try all they want, but if they can’t buy customer confidence they can’t succeed. I know Versata has filed a rejoinder in US Courts. But can courts say the customer X or Y should buy/use T3? Versata will figure it out.They had an option to recover the situation, but lost it because of arrogance and the train has left the station long before they realised. So, good luck mate.

  • Jhon

    Think3, Inc. 6011 West Courtyard Drive, Austin, Texas 78730
    Message from think3 Inc.’s Chief Restructuring Officer 8/2/2011
    Contact Information:
    Becky Roof, Chief Restructuring Officer
    Phone: 1-888-369-8931
    Website: http://www.think3info.com
    I have been made aware that Dr. Andrea Ferri (the “Italian Trustee”) has issued
    communications to customers directly and on a European website informing customers, among
    other statements, of recent decisions by the Italian Court regarding use of the think3 trademark
    by Versata FZ-LLC (“Versata”) and claiming that think3 Inc. (“think3”) is the only owner of
    intellectual property rights of various software products that carry the names ThinkDesign,
    Thinkteam, TD PLM, etc.
    With all due respect to Dr. Ferri and his desire to protect Italian creditors and customers, I
    disagree with a number of his statements. I wish to call a number of matters to your attention.
    1. The License Agreement that Dr. Ferri purports to set aside is governed by Texas law, not
    Italian law. Dr. Ferri continues to ignore the terms of the License Agreement. Avenues
    to challenge recent rulings by the Italian Court are still available to Versata, despite Dr.
    Ferri’s statements to the contrary. Versata has informed me that they intend to pursue
    these avenues. Moreover, I have not sought to terminate the License Agreement in the
    Chapter 11 proceeding pending in Texas.
    2. If it is ultimately determined that the think3 intellectual property is owned by think3 and
    the transfer of licensing rights and ownership to Versata is ultimately set aside, then the
    think3 Inc. Chapter 11 estate created by the filing under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code will
    become the owner of the intellectual property rights. Under Section 543 of the U.S.
    Bankruptcy Code, the Italian Trustee will be required to turn over the rights to the
    Chapter 11 estate in the United States. If this becomes the case, then I intend to work
    diligently to enhance this benefit to all stakeholders globally. In the meantime, however,
    I have no choice but to comply with Texas law and respect the terms of the License
    Agreement.
    3. As I reported on June 24, 2011, on my public information website http://www.think3info.com,
    “it is unfortunate that the customers who have contracted for the use of the current think3
    products are caught in the middle of U.S. versus Italian law. It would be regrettable if
    any customers are forced to pay twice for any services or products.”
    Therefore, think3 has filed a Motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that seeks approval
    for the establishment of a segregated bank account with Comerica Bank that customers of think3
    products would be directed to make payments into. These funds would be escrowed until it is
    finally decided by a court of competent jurisdiction whether the Debtor, Versata, or the Italian
    Think3, Inc. 6011 West Courtyard Drive, Austin, Texas 78730
    Trustee has the rights to any or all of the customer payments. In the meantime, customers can be
    assured that their payments are segregated and protected.
    As I have stated previously, on numerous occasions since my initial meeting with Dr.
    Ferri on June 14, I have offered to meet with Dr. Ferri to conduct global settlement discussions
    and facilitate cooperation. Although I have offered to make myself available for a meeting in
    Europe for more than one month, we have not been able to schedule a meeting. Throughout my
    efforts with both the Italian Trustee and Versata, I have pursued a strategy of cooperation and
    reconciliation.
    I continue to hope that there is a willingness for cooperative communication among all
    parties, and a commitment to prompt and immediate settlement. The best interest of customers is
    very important to me, as that will maximize the value of the think3 products.
    My previous messages, along with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Order Setting Hearing and
    Directing Method of Notice and Cooperation for the Motion to approve the compromise
    described above, can be viewed at http://www.think3info.com.
    All questions may be sent to me by clicking on the “Contact Us” button on the left of the
    think3info.com homepage screen.

  • camus

    In this communication Mrs Roof made a little confusion. In most cases instead of “Dr Ferri” she would have to write “The Italian Court”. In the same time as she declares she should obey to Textas law, so Dr. Ferr must obey to Italian law.
    Dr Ferry hasn’t been named by the company, but directly by the Judge as independent. So written, the communication  sounds really bad, like a personal attack to the italian trustee.
    I just have to understand if really the Texas’s law permits to gather 40 mln $ of debts in a country, where the production and the business is done, half of them being taxes escape and then continue the business in the US just saying “goodby”, paying 3 mln $, 90% of them through a different company, just 70% owned  by think3, not 100%, again to escape taxes and court pronouncement.
    BTW the former CEO, as stated by documents filled in the chapter 11, has been payed by Versata till march 18^ 2011. It sounds like that the attempt to avoid  debts payment was well planned by both, Versata and the former CEO. 

    • Nainar

      Very true.Dr.Ferry was court appointed while Ms.Roof has been selected by erstwhile ESW Capital to restructure T3 after will fully selling the IP.She has the right to question the sale of IP on the same grounds as the trustee did and she has been defending the sale.When this goes to court it will be proved that US was not the primary place of business and hence the law where principal business happened should apply.It is also looking increasingly possible that ex-CEO has been part of the whole scheme to avoid the debts.Sad to know that

  • Jhon

    At least, Dr. Ferri use some official declaration by the judge on the court. The CRO in the USA, will just write for what? Is letter by the CRO  there isn’t any official position by the US law.

  • Nainar

    Interesting fact from the US Courts!! http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.txwb.262995/gov.uscourts.txwb.262995.116.0.pdf
    Per hour running cost for Think3 Inc’s restructuring, run by bankruptcy professionals is $5185– i.e $41,480 per day and $870,000 per month. And all they have just lawyers and secretaries busy filing papers at Courts. Just 10 people! I wish I studied law and practice bankruptcy in the US instead of doing product software development..

  • 45A

    haha sure, 880$ per hour 😀

    if she is worth the monay think3 can buy autodesk after this bankruptcy procedure 😉

  • I do think this specific total Think3 issue can be amazingly puzzling… I believe just about any customers are actually terrified out, if My spouse and i ended up being a pre-existing buyer I’d personally always be searching for a substitution rapid.

  • Ch_mad

    Why do you searching a substition rapidly? You can use the actually td-version (if you have not a subscription) as a good MCAD-solution for the next time (one/two years). I don’t know other MCAD-System with this flexibility inside the kernel (Paramtric, Solids, High-End-Surfaces, GSM, Drawing, Assy …).

    Let us see, how history continues. I think it become still very interesting….

    • Jhon

      totally agree with you. This is what are doing. Concerning the surface modelling you can use the think3 tecnology gap for more than 5 years … I’m sure.

  • ext3

    La delicata vicenda dell’interferenza della società americana Versata su Think3 Inc. in fallimento posta recentemente all’attenzione del Governo dalla Provincia a causa delle rilevanti ripercussioni occupazionali sui 150 lavoratori privati del loro posto di lavoro, ha ottenuto l’interessamento del Ministero degli Affari Esteri.In risposta alla lettera inviata dall’assessore provinciale alle Attività produttive Graziano Prantoni ai ministri degli Affari esteri Franco Frattini e dello Sviluppo economico Paolo Romani, in data 8 agosto il Ministro Frattini scrive a Prantoni e all’assessore regionale alle Attività Produttive, Gian Carlo Muzzarelli, che «le competenti strutture del Ministero hanno preso contatto con il Curatore fallimentare, dottor Andrea Ferri, al fine di identificare congiuntamente efficaci azioni di sostegno da intraprendere per salvaguardare gli interessi della società che si trova sottoposta a concorrenti procedimenti fallimentari in Italia e negli Stati Uniti».La lettera prosegue informando che «è stata altresì interessata la nostra Ambasciata a Washington, la quale ha prontamente acquisito in loco ulteriori elementi di informazione utili per meglio definire i contorni legali della controversia».Think3 svolge dal 1979 la sua attività di sviluppo vendita e assistenza software ad alta tecnologia, occupando circa 150 dipendenti nella sede principale di Casalecchio di Reno e in altre 4 filiali.Negli anni della globalizzazione l’azienda è divenuta una società americana attraverso l’ingresso di ulteriori soci nel capitale sociale, pur rimanendo a Bologna il centro di eccellenza dello sviluppo del software con altissima concentrazione di personale laureato. Dal 2008 è iniziata la crisi economica e finanziaria che si è acuita nel 2010 pregiudicando la continuazione dell’attività.Nel settembre 2010, Think3 Inc. è stata acquisita da ESW Capital, azienda americana facente capo alla holding Versata.Prantoni ha espresso la propria soddisfazione per la risposta del Governo, auspicando quanto prima una soluzione positiva della vicenda: «Oltre 150 lavoratori sono stati privati del loro posto di lavoro da manager superficiali e da un competitor straniero che pare essere animato unicamente da un intento predatorio, bypassando le leggi italiane sulla tutela dei lavoratori e dei creditori. E’ quindi necessario intervenire sollecitamente per salvaguardare le importanti risorse umane e tecnologiche dell’azienda e uscire dall’attuale impasse».