The Daily Telegraph

Rolls-royce and BMW bosses accused of stealing technology

- By Gareth Corfield

EXECUTIVES at Rolls-royce Motor Cars and BMW have been accused of stealing technology from a German software company in a bitter row over the British brand’s luxury Ghost sedan.

Topalsson, a Munich-based software business, has made a complaint to prosecutor­s in the German city over what it says is illegal use of its systems by the British carmaker.

Originally contracted to make a digital “configurat­or” that customers could use to design their £300,000 Ghost, Topalsson sued Rolls-royce and its parent company BMW after the deal was terminated

The German business has now escalated the £7.9m dispute from a civil case in the High Court to a criminal complaint in its home country, ahead of the London proceeding­s being heard before a judge next month.

A BMW spokesman said: “We consider Topalsson’s behaviour to be an attempt to exert pressure in order to reach a commercial agreement regarding the proceeding­s pending in England.”

Timo Poser, finance director at Rollsroyce, is among a group of six managers from the carmaker and its parent company who have been accused by Topalsson of breaking German criminal laws on copyright infringeme­nt.

The software company’s complaint was filed in mid-august at the Munich public prosecutor’s office, according to documents seen by The Daily Telegraph.

Rolls-royce and BMW both deny the claims and describe them as “entirely without merit”, the British company said. A countercla­im has been filed.

British court filings show that Topalsson is pursuing Rolls-royce for breach of contract over a computer programme used to display a digital version of the luxury Ghost sedan.

Rolls-royce is said to have terminated Topalsson’s contract over failures to deliver the configurat­or on time. The German business alleges that despite having delivered a working prototype, Rolls-royce kicked it off the project before helping itself to the software.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom