Who Owns Think3's Intellectual Property?

After running Think3 into the ground, its former owners seemed to have set the stage for a train wreck by selling the company to Versata… or whoever it is that they sold it to (see “Who Bought Think3?“). The one thing that matters most in a software company is its intellectual property. There are some theories floating around regarding what happened to the intellectual property of Think3 after the company was sold. But without proof there is no point going into them.

Anyways, in all the confusion, somehow Think3 customers have started getting emails and calls from Versata asking them to pay up for their new support program. Think3 customers are also complaining on my blog that nothing has been done to the software, apart from shipping an old beta as a new release.

However, 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? Does the intellectual property still reside with Think3 and hence is now being managed by the trustee? If yes what is the trustee going to do with it? Or did the company that bought Think3 sell the intellectual property to another company and leave Think3 to die? If it did then does Italian or US law allow a company to be gutted in this way? I am no legal eagle. But I have reason to believe that this Think3 obituary is not the end of the story.

This story has now moved away from Think3 employees being denied salary for months and then being laid off. This is now about the Think3 customer base and what is going to become of them. I am hoping that this story has a happy ending. But I fear that it may not.

Update (26-Apr-2011)

The question has been answered. See “I Know Who Owns Think3′s Intellectual Property“.

  • Nainar

    There is always hope Deelip. All it requires is a few enterprising individuals to work with the Trustee in some form to rejuvenate the company and work with the customers. There is no dearth of such people in Think3 employee list. And I am sure if Versata is thrown out of the picture, it is good news for the customers and people who developed the software.

    The theories are not just conjectures but facts! Some ghost entity acquired Think3 and sold Think3’s IP to Versata and this is the reason why Versata says they did not acquire Think3. Neither US Law nor Italian or even Indian law allows a company to be gutted like this.And possibly because of this reason the Bankruptcy proceedings have taken ownership of the IP. For all the hoopla, the think3.versata.com did go down right? I am wondering whether Mr.Scott’s date with customers on 3rd May is still on. And as I pointed out earlier, he signs as CEO of Versata and not as CEO of Think3. But, Versata already has a CEO and President by name one Mr.Randal Jacobs. So, does Versata have two CEOs?

  • Matteo @CAEdevice

    Hello Deelip, as I wrote elsewhere, I think that the weak point of the matter is precisely the concept of intellectual property, I believe that the “sale” of the exploitation rights of an intellectual property is something artificial and irrational.

  • Sid

    Deelip, Versata has answered the question of IP ownership at their website http://think3.versata.com/. They say ” Versata FZ-LLC (Versata) is the exclusive licensee of intellectual property rights in the software that customers have licensed from the think3 family of businesses”. Versata FZ-LLC, I understand is the Dubai based entity. So, why is Versata Inc’s CEO writing to customers and whats the relationship between the two entities. I raised several other potential questions on your blog (http://www.deelip.com/?p=5753&cpage=1#comment-190519274) that customers could ask Scott at the May 3rd meeting.

  • Nainar

    Your questions were answered here Deelip. It is not Versata, but Versata FZ-LLC!! Check this site http://www.think3.versata.com/ and they dont have the usual Think3 Website but have just a written page, saying Versata FZ-LLC is the owner of the IP!! And they say Think3 Italy is a local entity. They ask customers to pay Think3 Italy and Versata FZ-LLC will provide free support.. Phenomenal amount of confusion. If they claim they own the IP, why should customers pay Think3 Italy?And why is Versata doing charity for Think3 which is in no way connected to Think3?? Customers should see through these games being played out.

  • Not quite. Versata is a licensee of the IP, not the owner. See http://www.deelip.com/?p=5910

  • Jhon

    Customer will spend is money in more effective and clear way.
    You can choice from : Dassaul,Siemens,Autodesk, Ptc etc. etc.