The partnership of coaches Maxim Temchenko and Ravil Gabidullin ended with a “mask show” and a lawsuit over a claim for infringement of exclusive rights to the materials of the Millionaires Club financial literacy training course. “The essence of such disputes is that the author of the course transfers the results of his intellectual work for use, but the user, having studied and tested the franchise, copies the business idea in a new form,” say BUSINESS Online experts. Read about how the self-proclaimed students of Robert Kiyosaki and Brian Tracy, who raised “thousands of millionaires”, actually turned out to be the owners of unprofitable businesses, read in our material.
How the Arbitration Court of the Republic of Tatarstan judged two financial coaches
In September 2021, the Arbitration Court of Tatarstan received a claim from IP Temchenko M.A. to IP Gabidullin R.R. The plaintiff asked to recover damages from the courses conducted by the Tatar millionaire from June 24, 2019 to March 17, 2021 – a total of 600 thousand rubles – and to prohibit the use of his course and training materials.
Sole proprietor Maxim Temchenko describes himself as a businessman, investor, business coach, leading personal finance expert, academician of the IACE International Academy and a direct student of Robert Kiyosaki and Brian Tracy.
Who is mr. Temchenko?
The defendant in the case is Ravil Gabidullin from Kazan. The official website of the entrepreneur says that he is the president and founder of the Academy of Financial Growth and Personal Development, which in 2020 became a nominee for the title of the best educational project in the field of teaching financial literacy and investing.
Who is mr. Gabidullin?
In February 2022, the plaintiff raised the stakes in court, raising the claims to 2.2 million rubles: for violation of the contract for the training course “Millionaires Club” and penalties for non-payment of interest on earnings from trainings. After a year of judicial investigation, linguistic examinations of the courses of both coaches, Temchenko once again raised the amount of compensation “for violation of exclusive rights to materials” of the training course to 8.4 million rubles.
On March 17, 2023, the arbitration satisfied the claim, reducing the fine for the Kazan millionaire to 200,000 rubles. Both coaches appealed the decision of the court to a higher authority.
How “dollar millionaires” quarreled
The court found that Temchenko and Gabidullin entered into a one-year contract to conduct the Millionaires Club training course in Kazan in 2019. Gabidullin pledged to pay 10% of income from trainings and could use Temchenko’s materials, but not distribute them. After the completion of the agreement, Gabidullin, according to the plaintiff, revised the author’s course, passing it off as his “Academy of Financial Growth” (AFR). The experts analyzed the recordings of Temchenko’s “Millionaires’ Club” and Gabidullin’s AFR and found matches in them. The court recalculated that Gabidullin conducted trainings under the guise of copyright for 92 days, and for them he would have paid Temchenko 200 thousand rubles.
Gabidullin, in response to a request from a BUSINESS Online correspondent, said that he started doing business back in 2007. For 11 years, he had various projects, and he was engaged in teaching financial literacy “more like a hobby on Saturdays.” “Over time, this activity began to take more and more time, and in the middle of 2018 I met Maxim Temchenko, and his idea of teaching financial literacy was very close to me, and we decided to cooperate,” Gabidullin answered (hereinafter spelling and punctuation saved by the author – ed.).
The entrepreneurs even had a joint interview three years ago, where Temchenko told Gabidullin about his sources of income. They were friendly and laughing. But over time, differences began to appear in the approaches. “I am a business practitioner who has built his wealth by doing business and investing in real estate. As far as I know, Temchenko created his capital by teaching and advising people about financial literacy, while not having significant business background, apart from the business training business, ”said Gabidullin.
He added that he returned the rights to the franchise in 2021 and took up a personal project, launching AFR workshops in Kazan and Moscow. At one of the seminars in the capital, an entrepreneur was in for a surprise. “On May 11, at about 9:30 p.m., a district police officer came to the Azimut Hotel together with OMON officers. They allegedly came separately, but masked men armed with machine guns did not bother the district police officer at all. He walked around and shouted that a scam was being committed. The riot police were quickly exposed, it turned out to be not real, and the hotel staff expelled them from the hotel. The district police officer was in a hurry and, in violation of all procedural norms, without presenting the original application, without the presence of a lawyer, asked to sign a piece of paper agreeing to testify later, at the police station, in compliance with all procedural norms, and disappeared after that forever, ”shared his memories of the“ mask – show” Gabidullin.
Temchenko told our publication that he filed a complaint with the police about copyright infringement during the training by a Kazan entrepreneur. The visit of the district police officer could be related to checking the facts on this statement. “The district police officer did not inform us about his visit and the composition of the group that visited Gabidullina,” Temchenko said.
“A business idea does not apply to intellectual property. She gets robbed first.”
“Such disputes are multi-layered conflicts. Their essence is that the author of the course transfers the results of his intellectual work to the user under a “serious” contract, but the user, having studied and tested the franchise in practice, often simply copies the business idea in a new form, ”said the BUSINESS Online correspondent director of the author’s agency “Artpatent” Grigory Busarev.
The lawyer drew attention to the fact that the outcome of such disputes depends on how fully and correctly the author of the courses defended his product and issued the rights to it. “An important nuance: a business idea does not apply to intellectual property. Alas! That’s why they steal it in the first place. The law protects only the form of expression of an idea, that is, the very presentation materials and texts,” the expert said.
Busarev added that it is enough to rewrite such “author’s courses” in other words, avoiding the use of similar terms and vocabulary. The court decision may be about the ban on the use of presentation materials, but not the idea itself, which is what happens in this story.
“The most important and controversial issue in such categories of cases is the amount of compensation collected by the court,” said Gulnara Beglova, partner at Yalilov and Partners Law Firm LLC. The law provides for three ways to calculate the cost of compensation. In this story, the plaintiff chose two times the cost of the right to use the work, based on the price normally charged for using the work in the way the infringer chose. “It is important to note that this paragraph of the law does not give the court the opportunity to unreasonably reduce the amount of compensation. However, the court, at the request of the opposing party, may reduce the amount of compensation, which we see in the judicial act in the Temchenko-Gabidullin case,” the expert added.