Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Strange attempts to grab GRADE

Someone is making a move on GRADE, the business process analysis and simulation tool first invented by Latvian IT people at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics in the early 1990s. The claim has been made to the Latvian Prosecutor's Office that GRADE was, at one point, financed by Software House Riga (SWH, a kind of predecessor to Dati, SWH Technologies, Exigen Latvia and now Dati/Exigen) using around USD 1.5 million of a USD 3 million so-called G-24 loan granted way back when. The theory is that since the G-24 loan was never repaid (part of it went down with the infamous Banka Baltija in 1995), a claim can be made on the rights to GRADE and to what is considered a derivative toolset used by Exigen.
Here are the facts as I understand them: GRADE was developed in cooperation with a German company, Infologistik, owned by Latvian-American Janis Gobins, the "godfather" of Latvian IT. GRADE is wholly owned by Infologistik and has been licenced to a number of users, including, at one point, Siemens and now Exigen.
Exigen, in turn, used some of the same Latvian specialists that invented GRADE to design its business process optimization tools. In other words, these tools had the same "intellectual parents" as GRADE and, very probably, used similar conceptual frameworks. But they are legally distinct intellectual properties and tools (the Exigen tools, besides analyzing business processes, can also be used to reprogram them, that is, cut out useless steps in electronic workflows etc, and implement these changes).
So, according to the version I have heard (from the Godfather), this attempt to get at GRADE or any of Exigen's tools is bound to fail. However, knowing the loonie-factor of various Latvian authorities, including the Prosecutor's Office, I don't exclude that Exigen may have to fight some kind of nuisance action against it.
In any case, it is a reminder coming back to haunt us of the total clusterfuck that was made of much of the so-called G-24 loans (provided by 24 sucker countries mostly to a bunch of post-Soviet con artists and with as much oversight of spending as you would get with a group of drunken sailors in honky-tonk opium den/brothel in Shanghai in the 1930s).

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