The think3 story keeps evolving –badly

Just 4 days ago I tweeted that “think3 Italy and Versata are duking it out. Both claim IP ownership. See think3.com and think3.versata.com. Trying to speak with someone.”

Since then I have received a few email messages from Austin Scee, the new General manager of the think3 products Division of Versata, as well as a few messages from Silvano Joly, the prior marketing head of think3 who evidently still works for think3.

Apparently both are now claiming ownership of the intellectual property (IP). Versata claims to have purchased it from think3, Inc. the US parent company; think3 Italy, via the bankruptcy court also claims ownership of the IP and is attempting to restart the company. Joly wrote on 5 May that think3 is working hard on codes and licenses instead of making promises using e-mail. think3 is trying to recover and re-establish think3 and also considering partnerships and M&A alternatives.

Evidently Versata is moving ahead anyway. Here is what the latest missive from Versata received on 6 May says:

think3 and Versata Logo
Dear think3 Customers and Partners,
My name is Austin Scee, and I have recently been appointed as the General Manager of the think3 Products Division of Versata. I’m writing both to introduce myself and provide some clarity on the recent confusing series of events, including the bankruptcy proceeding with the Italian branch of think3.As I write this, I have just landed in Madrid to begin two weeks of on-site meetings with customers all over Europe. I am energized about what I am hearing from customers and about the future of the think3 products.

I look forward to sharing our vision of rebirth for think3 with as many of you as possible over the weeks to come. We will be having a webinar in both English and Italian on May 19 that will share our future vision for the think3 products with you and also provide you with the ability to ask questions. You can register for the English webinar here, and the Italian webinar here.

In the months since Versata acquired the software assets of think3, we have shipped four product releases (more than think3 had shipped in the prior two years), completely rebuilt the support organization around the world, improved support quality from a customer reported rating of 28% “excellent” to 75% “excellent”, and launched two exciting new programs – Platinum WOW Support & The “Stop The Shelfware” Promotion – that have been adopted by hundreds of customers.

Perhaps most exciting is our work on the new Enterprise versions of each of our major product suites – thinkDesign, thinkPLM, and thinkDesign PLM. The Enterprise versions will be a ground-up revamp of the products that will improve performance 10x, vastly enhance usability via new screen designs, improve quality, include native 64-bit support, better leverage the Cloud, and provide a strong foundation for future features that will make the think3 products world class leaders again. We are tentatively planning a first release of the Enterprise Edition as early as this summer.

There has also, unfortunately, been a great deal of confusion surrounding Versata’s acquisition of the think3 intellectual property assets and the recent bankruptcy proceedings of the think3 Italian Branch and subsidiary distribution entity. The truth is relatively straightforward. Versata purchased the software intellectual property assets from think3 Inc., the US-based parent company. Roughly two weeks ago, the Italian branch and subsidiary were placed into bankruptcy by a court in Bologna, Italy. Since being placed in bankruptcy, a local administrator was appointed to run the local Italian Branch and subsidiary distribution entity.

This administrator has since taken a number of steps that we believe to be damaging to think3 customers and which are not consistent with applicable law. He has seized the think3 website (our new website is available at think3.versata.com) and posted threatening messages. Contrary to what is claimed in these threatening messages, a local Italian administrator does not have the legal authority to “terminate” Versata’s ownership of the think3 products. Versata spent millions of Euros – well above market value according to independent auditors – to legally purchase these assets.

The priority of the administrator clearly is focused on protecting creditors, even at the expense of customers. Conversely, our focus is squarely on customer success – and Versata has the resources, assets, and capabilities to advance the product and support the customer base at levels that think3 could not before and certainly cannot today. We have also begun investing in CAD expertise, including an effort to hire noted industry leaders to join our team. We believe the future for think3 products is extremely bright. We ask you to give us a year to prove it to you.

We expect that the administrator in Italy may persist in issuing confusing or threatening communication. We will work to proactively address every misleading or inaccurate statement. And we promise to be completely authentic – you will hear the complete, unfiltered truth from us – none of the “legal speak” you get from the administrator. We also commit that we will be using every legal means at our disposal to aggressively protect your investment in the think3 technology.

Further – and most importantly – we commit to you that we will put your interests ahead of everything else. Every decision we make will be guided by our prevailing philosophy of 100% customer success. And you should feel free to email me directly if there is anything that we can do to increase your success with the think3 products or if you have any questions or concerns. Please email me directly at austin.scee@versata.com.
Warmest Regards,

Austin Scee
General Manager, think3 Division
Versata