As managing directors of TEQneers GmbH & Co. KG (“TEQneers”) we would like to inform you about the following situation:
For more than ten years TEQneers – as sole and exclusive development partner since 2003 – has developed and maintained the software “SoFi” for thinkstep AG (“thinkstep”). The cooperation between TEQneers and thinkstep was terminated in March 2016.
“SoFi” has been developed using the “TEQlibs” framework. TEQneers have developed this framework and own the exclusive intellectual property rights relating thereto.
Since the termination of the cooperation between TEQneers and thinkstep in March 2016 – there has been an ongoing dispute about the question if and to what extent thinkstep is entitled to use the framework TEQlibs notwithstanding this termination.
As per the language of the contract between TEQneers and thinkstep, it is the understanding of TEQneers, that thinkstep is not entitled to edit or develop “SoFi” using the TEQlibs framework. In the opinion of TEQneers, thinkstep consequently has not been entitled to distribute to customers versions of “SoFi” which have been developed in this way. From TEQneers’ point of view this affects all versions of “SoFi” in a more recent version than 6.3.1. Furthermore, in TEQneers’ understanding of the contract between thinkstep and TEQneers, thinkstep has not been entitled to distribute “SoFi” for the first time to new customers since 20 March 2016.
Customers who use the software “SoFi” in a more recent version than 6.3.1 or customers who have received “SoFi” for the first time on 20 March 2016 or later, – as per TEQneers’ understanding of the contract between thinkstep and TEQneers – lack the necessary rights of use. In TEQneers’ opinion, these customers violate the intellectual property rights of TEQneers by using “SoFi”.
In order to find an amicable solution with thinkstep, TEQneers has initiated a conciliation proceedings in Novermber 2016. In April 2017, there has been a joint meeting officated by a conciliator nominated by the German Association of Law and Informatics (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Recht und Informatik e.V. – DGRI). The negotiations during this meeting and afterwards, unfortunately, have not led to an amicable solution.
TEQneers, therefore, have filed a law suit against thinkstep in August 2017, seeking remedies against the use of TEQlibs, among other things. TEQneers have always been interested in finding an amicable and agreeable solution. thinkstep, however, has informed TEQneers recently in October 2017, that it considers the negotiations to have failed and come to a non-agreeable conclusion.
If and to what extent thinkstep is entitled to distribute “SoFi” software which has been edited or developed after termination of the agreement using the TEQlibs framework, depends on the interpretation of the original agreement between TEQneers and thinkstep. A binding interpretation can only be made exclusively by the competent courts in Germany.
As long as there is no final court decision, TEQneers currently do not intend to take immediate legal actions against customers of thinkstep. However, TEQneers reserves all rights to take such actions, as soon as the legal issues in relation to thinkstep have been finally decided by the competent courts in Germany.