Versata Wins Another Court Battle

A reader pointed me to this press release issued by Versata which starts with:

Versata is pleased to announce that the federal court in the United Arab Emirates has now joined a United States federal bankruptcy court and a Japanese court in confirming Versata’s exclusive ownership of Think3’s intellectual property.

The court took it a step further and “entered a sweeping injunction prohibiting Dr. Andrea Ferri, the Italian trustee for the Think3 bankruptcy proceeding in Bologna, Italy, from continuing to possess, copy, make or sell any of Think3’s intellectual property“. The court also instructed the Italian trustee to stop using his web site and directed the UAE telecommunications commission to block the web site. Versata operates out of Dubai in the UAE.

The press release goes on to explain what went down in the US trial:

In his losing effort, Dr. Ferri submitted evidence considered in the two-day U.S. trial. So did Versata. Versata’s evidence included the testimony of Professor Francesco Vassalli, a leading expert on Italian bankruptcy law, who testified that the Italian trustee’s conduct has been highly unusual because, for example, the Italian Trustee’s claim that he can control the assets of a debtor located outside the borders of Italy is not only contrary to well-settled Italian law, but has no historical support whatsoever in Italian jurisprudence.

So now on the one side, we have three courts (US, Japan and UAE) saying Versata owns the Think3 IP and on the other side we have the lone Italian court declaring that the IP belongs to Think3 Italy. I’m not sure where this pissing contest is headed unless someone takes this to some international court where both sides are made to piss on each other directly and not in their own private back yards.

The question is not how many courts agree with which party. The real question is in which country do the bulk of Think3’s customers reside and which way that country’s court is leaning. I seriously doubt anyone in their right mind will buy a new license of a Think3 product until this IP issue is sorted out. So this fight is actually about the current customers who haven’t already jumped ship to another CAD and PLM system. And the longer this takes the more empty that ship is going to become.