The head of Sberbank in a comment to Forbes said that he believes that the dispute over Nginx should be resolved not in the criminal plane, but in arbitration.
The head of Sberbank German Gref told Forbes about his attitude to the conflict around the company Nginx, the rights to the development of which Rambler said. “I don’t like that this is a criminal trial. Such disputes, in my opinion, should be considered in the arbitration court, ” Gref said.
Earlier today, the first Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sberbank Lev Khasis, who also heads the Board of Directors of Rambler, said that the Board of Directors of Rambler will discuss the situation with Nginx at an extraordinary meeting. Khasis clarified to Forbes that the Board of Directors will be held early in the week, on Monday or Tuesday. Herman Gref will not participate in this meeting, Khasis said.
A Forbes source in Sberbank claims that it was Gref who insisted on holding the Rambler Board of Directors. According to a friend of Gref, the head of Sberbank is going to deal with the issue on Monday.
On Thursday, December 12, the police raided the Moscow office of Nginx (developer of a web server used by more than 350 million sites, Facebook, Vkontakte, Apple and many others). The reason for the search was the claims of the former employer of the founders of Nginx, Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov — Rambler. The media holding believes that it has exclusive rights to Nginx developments. In the plot of the criminal case brought against “unidentified persons” on December 4 by the main investigation Department of the Ministry of internal Affairs in Moscow, some former employees of Rambler no later than October 2004 during working hours and on behalf of the management of Rambler developed the Nginx program. At the same time,” unidentified persons “with intent to infringe copyright indicated that the exclusive right to the program belongs to Igor Sysoev, while, according to Rambler, the program was a “service work” and the exclusive rights to it should have belonged to the company. After that, the “persons” freely distributed the program on the Internet, and in July 2011 (the year Sysoev resigned from Rambler) transferred the exclusive rights to Nginx registered in the British virgin Islands company Nginx Inc. This contract, as well as the free distribution of Nginx, in the plot of the case are characterized as illegal. Rambler’s damage from all these actions as of July 2011 (the same year Sysoev left the company) is estimated at 51.4 million rubles, according to a search warrant in the company.
As part of the criminal case on December 12, Maxim Konovalov and Igor Sysoev were interrogated for four hours, after which they were released. As Konovalov told Forbes, searches took place not only in the office of the company, but also at home with him and Igor Sysoev. As a result of the searches, their laptops and mobile devices were taken away. Konovalov in conversation with Forbes noted that Rambler did not make any claims Nginx 8 years, and the trigger for the emergence of the current situation was the sale of Nginx to the American company F5 for $670 million in March this year.
On December 12, Rambler clarified that the company had ceded the rights to file claims and lawsuits related to the violation of the rights to Nginx to the Cyprus structure of Lynwood Investments CY Ltd, associated with Rambler’s major shareholder Alexander Mamut. In the media holding he owns 46.5%, the same share in Rambler owns Sberbank.
The situation around Nginx has already been commented on by former top managers of Rambler. As former Rambler Executive Director Igor Ashmanov told Forbes, he “personally hired Igor Sysoev to the company as a system administrator” in 2000 and “it was agreed that he had his own open-source project and Rambler was given permission to use it.” Rambler, in turn, emphasizes that Nginx is a service work, the development of which since the early 2000s in the framework of labor relations with “Rambler” was engaged in Igor Sysoev.
Several major players in the Russian IT industry expressed support for Nginx. The first of them was “Yandex” – Director of technology distribution Grigory Bakunov said that the modern Internet is impossible without a culture of open source programming, and the pursuit of open code is a bad signal to the community of programmers.