I hesitated for a long while with this post. There’s always a backlash when you carry an argument into the public. People believe you or they don’t. And if they don’t, your reputation suffers. But there are two reasons that lead me to the decision to publish some facts about working with Philipp Maderthaner. First of all, I keep receiving questions about the reasons why we ended our partnership with the Campaigning Bureau Vienna. Second, those who intend to organize a Campaigning Summit in their city, can learn from our experience.
In 2012 Philipp launched Campaigning Summit Vienna. It was very similar to an idea we and several of our partners had years earlier. So close, that our partner in the United States wrote an E-Mail saying „Sh**, guys, they totally stole our idea“.
I was fascinated that this young guy, so young that he could even be my son, had just done it. After visiting Campaigning Summit Vienna 2013 we – my company business campaigning Switzerland GmbH – decided to collaborate with Philipp Maderthaner’s Campaigning Bureau Vienna and organize a Campaigning Summit Zurich.
Our agreement was that as equal partners we would make the event international. It is not true that he exported to even to Switzerland. We invited him and paid the bill. He would provide the website and design, we would finance the event. In the end we sponsored each of the two Campaigning Summit Zurichs that took place spo far with an average amount of CHF 60’000.- for each summit.
The problems started last November when we decided to change the name.
Switzerland is too small for several Campaigning Summits and in order to have a crowd big enough to finance the event it was important to call it Campaigning Summit Switzerland. Our new concept was based on extensive feedback and discussions. Philipp Maderthaner did not agree. He told us for the international expansion of his Campaigning Bureau, his business model, he needed Campaigning Summits in as many cities as possible, not only one per country. And he threatened us immediately with legal action based on a franchising contract that we had signed in 2013.
An hour after we had announced the name change his employee Lukas Bauer removed our administrator rights for our own Facebook page and then they blackmailed us to change the name again. After twoi weeks of discussions we agreed, they gave our rights back but last week they had our Facebook page blocked by Facebook completely, claiming a trademark violation.
As a result we had our lawyer analyze the facts. Here they are: