SpicyIP follows up on Ideafarms-Continental IPR dispute

SpicyIP did a follow up post on Ideafarms-Continental IPR dispute after the recent developments at the Indo-German Bilateral talks held in Germany 9-11 May. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Sh. Anand Sharma raised the the Ideafarms-Continental dispute during the meet and the German government has assured a just solution for the lawsuit. In their post SpicyIP also mentioned that their team members were contacted by German lawyers who also think that the judgement of the German court was violation of Ideafarms’ IP, trade and investment rights and that they are willing to fight on behalf of Ideafarms.

Let us know what are your views about IP rights violations and the recent developments of the government backing the SME sector up.

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Commerce Minister raises Ideafarms IP violation at Indo German talks

The Ideafarms vs Continental case has created a stir as the issue of unathorised usage of Ideafarms’ software products by Continental AG was brought up by Industries Minister Sh. Anand Sharma during the recently concluded Indo-German Bilateral talks held in Germany 9-11 May 2012. Ideafarms expresses its deep gratitude to Sh. Anand Sharma for sending a clear message of the Government’s backing of the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) sector, to urge overseas Corporates to respect India’s IP. This was a key topic of discussion during the meeting with German Federal Minister of Economics & Technology Philipp Roessler. The German government has assured a just solution for this dispute and India will follow up with them.

Quoting the article from Economic Times –

We hope that this move will create more robust IP laws. Let us know what you think about it.

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SpicyIP supports Ideafarms against unfair judgement of German court

The SpicyIP team noticed the Ideafarms-Continental dispute, how despite the unathorised use of Ideafarms’ product by German company Continental AG the German court ruled in favor of Continental AG. The SpicyIP team decided to write about it and bring it to notice timed with Indo-German bilateral talks held in Germany, 9-11 May 2012.

Excerpts from the original article have been covered here for your views. (Click to  read the full article) –

Since 2007, Continental had been using a software framework of Ideafarms, named InDExT, a general-purpose / generic software framework for storing, retrieving and approving documents and managing business processes through a proprietary Visual Navigation system. This software had been customised for Continental as QMD, Quality Management Documentation by Ideafarms for a separate customization fee and installed in the Germany-based servers of Continental under a click-wrap license. The licence agreement was accepted by Continental and was also available for viewing through the software interface itself.
In 2010, when Continental signed the aforesaid termination agreement, it was liable to pay the license fee for the said software for the year 2010. …


… The matter, however, proceeded to be heard the next day, wherein the Court acted in a manner that did not conform with the idea of fairness or neutrality. Without allowing a trial, it rejected Ideafarms’ counter claim and instead of allowing any argument on Ideafarms’ part as to what might constitute a valid licence/transfer fee, it summarily awarded Continental the rights to the software. …


… Overall, even setting aside the procedural irregularities that the German judge might or might not have indulged in, the decision prima facie appears to contain several laches, such as how could Continental have been awarded the software rights without a trial, when it had never claimed ownership, nor had disputed Ideafarms’ copyright over the same. Even the licensing issue was not settled by the Court.

Read the complete article here.

The post attracted considerable attention and received a string of comments from readers starting a debate.

We would also like to know what do you think about the judgement. Share you views in the comments below.

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Should we let them walk all over us?

Small in size but in the news always for the right reasons, Ideafarms maintains that it follows a partnership model of engagement with its clients as opposed to a traditional client-vendor relationship and we have also successfully lived the model over a period of 8 years (2002-2010) with Continental AG. One of the key ingredients of any partnership is “trust” that the parties have to invest in each other to be able to successfully derive mutual benefit from the engagement. While we believe we did more than our share to establish a successful partnership with Continental AG, we feel we have been dealt with the short end of the stick in this case.

In the news – For all the right reasons

‘Should Government Support Davids?’ was a very pertinent question asked in this Economic Times article (dated 28 April 2011) which raises important issues about protecting overseas, the intellectual property created by India’s Small & Medium Enterprises. We know that it has perhaps not been a cakewalk for us to sustain a legal battle against a blue chip European multinational and we can understand the plight of many others like us, some of whom may not be able to afford fighting for what rightfully belongs to them – their intellectual property – being flouted brazenly by companies that least need to do so.

Quoting from the article –

“While Indian information technology companies should, indeed, be encouraged to diversify into software products whose intellectual property they own and license, what recourse do Indian companies have, particularly the small ones, in case foreign parties , particularly large ones, violate their intellectual property? Is it possible for the government to fund the legal expenses of Indian companies defending their intellectual property abroad, once initial screening shows a viable case?”

Ideafarms would love to hear your views and looks forward to starting a debate on this important and relevant issue.

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