Rambler Group Vs. Nginx: all the details

Rambler Group Vs. Nginx: all the details


Natalia Solovyova

Rambler Group is trying to mitigate the conflict with IT company Nginx, whose news “blew up” the Internet in mid-December. Through him, Nginx co-founders Maxim Konovalov and Igor Sysoev were
detained while in the office
IT companies have been searched. Rambler Group officials said the company was unaware of the developers’ claims web-service Nginx – presented by Cypriot
Lynwood Investments, without reporting to Rambler. The Rambler Board of Directors, which met on December 16, gave
management a number of assignments: terminate the contract with Lynwood Investments and initiate
closing the criminal case against the creators of the Nginx program.

parties to the conflict

Today Nginx is called one of the leading IT companies. It was founded by Russian programmer Igor Sysoev. In 2002, he created an open-source web server, which today, according to experts,
operate about a third of all sites in the world, attracted investment and created Nginx. Its clients include Yandex, Mail.Ru Group, Netflix, Dropbox. And in March 2019, the multinational corporation F5
Networks bought Nginx for $ 670 million

Lynwood Investments is a Cypriot company that has been ceded by Rambler Group to file claims and claims related to Nginx rights violations. Experts associate it with Alexander Mamut,
owns a 46.5% stake in Rambler Group (another 46.5% stake in March 2019 is owned by the Savings Bank of the Russian Federation and 7% by Era Capital). But, as reported in the media, his representative from the comments
refused, and the businessman himself did not respond to media inquiries.

The “intellectual” dispute

The Rambler Group and Nginx conflict first became known in early December 2019. Then the media published information that the Rambler Group, according to a message received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, was
was recognized as a victim by a lawsuit initiated by Lynwood Investments CY Ltd. to Nginx.

The history of the conflict itself seems, to put it mildly, pointless, and the ways to resolve it chosen by Lynwood Investments are scary. At the end of 2019, after the transfer of Nginx rights to F5
Networks, Rambler Group has suddenly decided to assert its intellectual property rights – namely the popular Nginx development software. The intention was explained by the fact that Igor Sysoev created
his software product while still an employee of Rambler Group, and therefore the rights to it belong to the employer company.

“The rights to the Nginx web server are vested in Rambler Internet Holding. Nginx is a service work that has been developed since the early 2000s as part of a working relationship with
Rambler was engaged by Igor Sysoev, so any use of this program without the Rambler Group’s consent is a violation of the exclusive right “, – quoted the leading media statement of the press service
Rambler Group. – “In this regard, Rambler Internet Holding has relinquished its rights and claims related to infringement of rights to Nginx, Lynwood Investments CY Ltd, which
has the necessary competencies to restore justice in the issue of rights. ”

Igor Sysoev worked for Rambler Group 15 years ago, and only remembered his rights to the Internet holding company right now. However, no one would pay attention to this “wonder” if it were not the solution
of the conflict selected by Lynwood Investments. The company has not appealed to law enforcement or arbitration tribunals, which traditionally allow such cases, but to law enforcement, and the dispute over
intellectual property rights grew into a “raider capture”.

Punishment without proof

From December 12, various Internet resources appear, but soon screenshots of resolutions on the criminal case immediately after several parts of Article 146 of the Criminal Code (“Violations”
copyright and related rights ”), which involves punishment in the form of forced labor for a term of up to five years, or imprisonment for a term of up to six years, with a fine of up to 500 non-taxable minimum incomes, or
the amount of wages or other income of the convicted person up to three years or without. The injured party is Rambler, whose damage is estimated at 51.4 million rubles.

On the same day, according to a number of sources, Nginx offices are searched, and Nginx co-founders Maxim Konovalov and Igor Sisoev are detained by law enforcement agencies, interrogated several
hours and remove their laptops and mobile devices. They also have searches at home. In the case, they pass as witnesses – so commented in the media himself Maxim Konovalov.

Searches also take place in the Moscow apartment of former Rambler and Nginx collaborator Gleb Smirnov – his relatives live there. According to him, employees of the security department withdrew labor
contracts with Rambler & c Nginx, workbook and ownership of the garage. Gleb Smirnov does not know his status in the case.

On December 16, a special board of directors meets specifically to discuss the Russian conflict in the Rambler Group. The meeting is initiated by Sberbank of the Russian Federation, four of which, including
First Deputy Chairman of the Board Lev Hassis, is a member of the governing body. The Board of Directors makes a number of decisions. Rambler Group Internet Company has been ordered to terminate its contract with the company
Lynwood Investments. Lynwood Investments itself is strongly advised to withdraw its application to Nginx and its co-founders, filed with law enforcement, to ask for a cessation of criminal
cases and continue litigation in the civil field.

At the same time, new information appears in the media – Rambler Group officials say they did not know about Lynwood Investments’ plans to sue Nginx developers. Lynwood was obliged
notify the Rambler. Rambler’s own position on intellectual property infringement was also lacking, and it began to form only during a meeting of the board of directors.

far gone

Igor Ashmanov, who held the chair of Rambler’s executive director in the early 2000s, considers all claims made by the Rambler Group to Igor Sisoev completely insolvent. In one of their own
comments that the Internet resource that posted it, also managed to remove, he states that when hiring Igor Sysoev in 2000 it was specifically stipulated that he had his project and he has
the right to engage them. He is ready to confirm this information in court.

In addition, in one of his interviews, Igor Sysoev himself spoke about working at Rambler as a system administrator and software development in
his job responsibilities were not included. He developed his product in his spare time. It was manufactured under BSD license. In Rambler, it began to apply when
the basic functionality was ready, and at that time Rambler was far from being the first Nginx user. Moreover, it is reported that Nginx repeatedly attracted investments, and before each round
the investor’s lawyers analyzed the asset, including intellectual property rights.

In defense of Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov open letter
50 former Rambler staff spoke. “We consider the latest events, the actors of which were our colleagues, the talented developers and founders of Nginx Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov,
a terrible violation of professional ethics and copyright, ”the document reads.

However, according to law experts, the initiatives of the Rambler Board of Directors have little to do and suspend or terminate criminal investigations by a party recognized
the victim, unable. Taxology partner Mikhail Uspensky commented on the situation, even signing the agreement on reconciliation will not automatically stop criminal prosecution. With him
Dabeya Konstantinova, partner of Zabayda and Partners, agrees: in her words, part 3 of Article 146 (on copyright and related rights violations by a group of persons of a particularly large size) is grave
it is also not possible to conclude a case in connection with the compensation of the victim of harm by law, and refusal to testify by a witness and the victim in a criminal case can be a reason for
bringing them to justice.

Everything that happens to one of the co-founders of Nginx, Igor Konovalov associates with a successful operation with F5 Networks worth $ 670 million. According to him, no one from the Rambler Group contacted him.
since Nginx was founded in 2011. By the way, F5 Networks considers claims against Nginx founders to be meaningless, and has taken steps to ensure the security of its products and codes.

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