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    • Taken advantage of? Betrayed? Kleemann maneuvers to attempt to cut Weistec out of the M156/M159 Supercharger market

      The sad reality of the tuning game is that others will lie, cheat, and steal your hard work if it benefits them. Any tuner on this network will tell you IP (intellectual property) theft is the single biggest problem facing tuners. A tuner can work for months, even years, on a software solution only for others to download, decompile, and copy it. Proving someone has done this is incredibly difficult and current laws do not protect tuners from software theft. Recently Kleemann sent out a holiday e-mail announcing their M156 supercharger which raised some eyebrows and prompted further research. It certainly appears that Kleemann has decided to (blatantly) betray their agreement with Weistec.




      Here is the Kleemann e-mail which came out of nowhere and definitely raised suspicions:




      You may remember Kleemann and Weistec announced a global agreement for Weistec products to be sold through the Kleemann distribution network. This happened last year in September. The agreement is below:


      Now, what you may not be aware of is that Kleemann approached Weistec regarding this. Why? Well, Kleemann has not made any serious performance parts for some time on Mercedes platforms. They were pretty much getting by living off their name and selling products created by others then taking their cut. That's fine and that is why they approached Weistec who had the first supercharger solution for M156 V8 vehicles.

      As Kleemann CEO Claus Ankjaer stated, "the Weistec Supercharge system is a perfect addition to our current product line." Unfortunately, it seems Kleemann took this as a perfect opportunity to illicitly piggyback off the work of someone else.

      Kleemann had unrestricted access to Weistec software as they were trusted as a distributor who would flash cars with the software necessary to run the M156/M159 supercharger kits. Obviously, hardware is only one part and to make forced induction kits work on modern German vehicles with their complex ECU's and programming quality software is necessary.

      It should raise red flags with everyone that out of nowhere Kleemann comes out with their own M156/M159 supercharger kit when already entered into an agreement with a company who produces such a kit. Additionally, that they did not announce or show any development on this platform. Furthermore, that seemingly out of nowhere their orders from Weistec dropped off significantly to now nothing. I ask, what conclusion would you draw?

      Well, if one were to speculate this is likely what happened. Kleemann was selling a fair amount of M156/M159 superchargers developed by Weistec. They realized they had access to the software and took what was necessary for the supercharger to work. They realized they could make a lot more money by cutting Weistec out. They contacted Xtra-Power who was supercharging M156/M159 cars in Europe although they did not have anywhere near as good of a tuning solution as Weistec unable to make their supercharger work with the stock DME. Instead, Xtra-Power relied on a piggy-back solution. They did, however, have the hardware. With this it would appear they developed a Magnuson TVS2300 roots based kit that works with the stock DME in record time. All of this and then quietly dropping Weistec from their website and no longer making any orders with Weistec. I ask again, what conclusion would you draw?

      It is unlikely Kleemann's system would have been able to come about on the stock DME without taking a peek at Weistec's software. It is unfortunate Weistec can not really do much about this. If one were to compare the software directly with a readout from each that would at least be a step towards proof but even then it would be an uphill legal battle to do something about it. Still, it would at least be a battle easily won in the court of public opinion which no doubt would strongly and negatively affect Kleemann's reputation.

      Weistec trusted a distributor and got burned. It happens in this game. You just don't expect it to happen with big names who are in mutually beneficial relationships. Just goes to show you can't trust anyone in the tuning game. And if you make a big breakthrough like what Weistec was able to do, you end up having a huge target on your back.

      Kleemann will not be able to cut Weistec out completely but definitely will affect Weistec sales in the European market. Additionally, Kleemann's hardware is inferior using a TVS roots blower. It is a decent blower, just not on par with Weistec's 3.0 liter twin screw. Still, it's a shame this is the tuning game and sadly to be expected. Another reminder that even if you have a mutually beneficial agreement on paper it may only serve to make it easier for someone to take what you worked to achieve.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Taken advantage of? Betrayed? Kleemann maneuvers to attempt to cut Weistec out of the M156/M159 Supercharger market started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 10 Comments
      1. nafoo's Avatar
        nafoo -
        Wow, hopefully Weistec had confidentiality/trade secret terms in the actual distribution agreement both parties signed.

        If I had a Merc I would not purchase a Kleemann sc kit. Spread the word!
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by nafoo Click here to enlarge
        Wow, hopefully Weistec had confidentiality/trade secret terms in the actual distribution agreement both parties signed.
        We will see what happens but it's tough to do something about this. It literally happens all the time. This is messed up though...
      1. mainah's Avatar
        mainah -
        [Mainah's Full Disclosure: I don't know anybody at Kleemann or Weistec. I have used Kleemann products on previous cars. I have not used Weistec products.]

        I think this is a very nebulous thread and full of conjecture (as y'all lawyers like to say).
        I understand that you have a relationship with Weistec and that they are sponsors, but this thread absolutely reeks of you being put up to the task of posting this thread by Weistec.

        How are you privy to this information (which cleverly 'suggests' and 'implies', but is never actually 'factual')?
        And yes - I know this is your forum! However, IMO, you need to disclose your participation in this, because otherwise, it looks like you are being used as Weistec's mouthpiece.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....It certainly appears that Kleemann has decided to (blatantly) betray their agreement with Weistec....
        You must have seen the actual contract then, because that press release from September doesn't give us any information whatsoever about the contractual obligations between the two companies (including, but not limited to Kleemann developing and releasing their own product that would compete with Weistec's).

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....As Kleemann CEO Claus Ankjaer stated, "the Weistec Supercharge system is a perfect addition to our current product line." Unfortunately, it seems Kleemann took this as a perfect opportunity to illicitly piggyback off the work of someone else....
        'Seems' is a worthless term. Either they did or didn't piggyback. If you have proof, either share it or say you have proof but can't share it.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....It should raise red flags with everyone that out of nowhere Kleemann comes out with their own M156/M159 supercharger kit when already entered into an agreement with a company who produces such a kit....
        Why should it raise red flags? Isn't it entirely possible that Kleemann wanted a piece of the pie while they were developing their own system? It 'seems' (there I go using the dirty word) obvious that with Kleemann's established name, plenty of these units would sell which would benefit Kleemann (as well as Weistec).
        At least superficially, it's good business.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....Additionally, that they did not announce or show any development on this platform. Furthermore, that seemingly out of nowhere their orders from Weistec dropped off significantly to now nothing. I ask, what conclusion would you draw?....
        Kleemann have released plenty of products in the past without prior notice of development. I've had some of them on previous cars and nothing was known about them until: tada! - an announcement was made on MBWorld that they were available.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....Well, if one were to speculate this is likely what happened. Kleemann was selling a fair amount of M156/M159 superchargers developed by Weistec. They realized they had access to the software and took what was necessary for the supercharger to work. They realized they could make a lot more money by cutting Weistec out....
        This speculating is irresponsible. It is equally plausible that they entered into a contract with Weistec to sell units as a package, while knowing full well that they were going to pursue their own supercharger system.
        In addition, Kleemann are well known for their tuning products (whether they do it in-house or not is irrelevant). I think it is wholly irresponsible to speculate that they 'took what was necessary' from Weistec's software.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....They contacted Xtra-Power who was supercharging M156/M159 cars in Europe although they did not have anywhere near as good of a tuning solution as Weistec unable to make their supercharger work with the stock DME. Instead, Xtra-Power relied on a piggy-back solution. They did, however, have the hardware. With this it would appear they developed a Magnuson TVS2300 roots based kit that works with the stock DME in record time. All of this and then quietly dropping Weistec from their website and no longer making any orders with Weistec. I ask again, what conclusion would you draw?....
        My conclusion would be that they developed their own system and until I had proof, I wouldn't speculate. That they ditched Weistec may be bad for Weistec; however, I don't see a publically available contract between the two to make a judgement call as to what was ethically questionable. There is nothing right now that comes close to suggesting that anything underhand occurred.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....It is unlikely Kleemann's system would have been able to come about on the stock DME without taking a peek at Weistec's software....
        'Unlikely' - another ambiguous term. Again, Kleemann are well known for providing tunes for the MB platform. Unless you know otherwise, they could have been working on their version for a long time.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....It is unfortunate Weistec can not really do much about this. If one were to compare the software directly with a raedout from each that would at least be a step towards proof but even then it would be an uphill legal battle to do something about it. Still, it would at least be a battle easily won in the court of public opinion which no doubt would strongly and negatively affect Kleemann's reputation....
        I will be deemed biased because I have used Kleemann products in the past, but nothing you have presented in this post has altered my opinion of Kleemann's reputation. In fact, this type of speculation does the opposite.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....Weistec trusted a distributor and got burned. It happens in this game. You just don't expect it to happen with big names who are in mutually beneficial relationships....
        How long was their contract for?
        Did Kleemann use Weistec's software or hardware to develop their own system? If you know something more, just say it. You don't have to post the evidence, just say you know more than you can post for legal purposes (you're a lawyer - I'm sure you can word it appropriately).

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        ....Additionally, Kleemann's hardware is inferior using a TVS roots blower. It is a decent blower, just not on par with Weistec's 3.0 liter twin screw....
        I don't see hard data on their system (to compare to Weistec's system). Do you have these data? Otherwise, are you speculating, or do you know it is an inferior product for sure?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        How are you privy to this information (which cleverly 'suggests' and 'implies', but is never actually 'factual')?
        And yes - I know this is your forum! However, IMO, you need to disclose your participation in this, because otherwise, it looks like you are being used as Weistec's mouthpiece.
        Well I wrote this myself and came to my own conclusions. I also am privy to a bit more information than you are.

        Kleemann sent out an e-mail to everyone announcing their new supercharger which just so happens to be for the same platforms as someone who they were distributing for. Simple coincidence? I don't think so.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        You must have seen the actual contract then, because that press release from September doesn't give us any information whatsoever about the contractual obligations between the two companies (including, but not limited to Kleemann developing and releasing their own product that would compete with Weistec's).
        You obviously don't seem to understand that Weistec was removed from the Kleemann website replaced with Kleemann's own offering now. There is nothing there that says Kleemann can not develop their own products but it is illegal to use someone else's IP to develop said product if that is what happened. That doesn't have to be specified, it's law.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        'Seems' is a worthless term. Either they did or didn't piggyback. If you have proof, either share it or say you have proof but can't share it.
        What do you want me to do? Board a plane and raid the Kleemann facilities? This is the first I have heard of the issue and I'm reporting it. You come to your own conclusion.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        Why should it raise red flags? Isn't it entirely possible that Kleemann wanted a piece of the pie while they were developing their own system? It 'seems' (there I go using the dirty word) obvious that with Kleemann's established name, plenty of these units would sell which would benefit Kleemann (as well as Weistec).
        At least superficially, it's good business.
        Because they came out with a stock DME tuned system and dropped the stock DME tuned system they were selling. Don't you get it? Who do you think developed this software? What, all of a sudden Kleemann tunes a stock DME tuned system? The guys who were originally with them left to go to Xtra-Power and they used a piggyback to tune. That should tell you something about the complexity.

        They had access to Wesitec's software and now all of a sudden became geniuses who developed their own tune on this level overnight? Please.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        Kleemann have released plenty of products in the past without prior notice of development. I've had some of them on previous cars and nothing was known about them until: tada! - an announcement was made on MBWorld that they were available.
        What products? They haven't done anything in... forever. They have just been selling the products of others.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        This speculating is irresponsible. It is equally plausible that they entered into a contract with Weistec to sell units as a package, while knowing full well that they were going to pursue their own supercharger system.
        In addition, Kleemann are well known for their tuning products (whether they do it in-house or not is irrelevant). I think it is wholly irresponsible to speculate that they 'took what was necessary' from Weistec's software.
        I think it's irresponsible to be so naive. It is equally plausible they entered into an agreement just so they could get their hands on the software. There was NO announcement and there had been no development prior to the agreement unless you have something to show me? Well, without that I would have to say all signs point toward this happening after the agreement with Weistec. The time table certainly agrees.

        Yes, Kleemann is well known, and? This means they are above IP theft? I certainly would have hoped so.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        My conclusion would be that they developed their own system and until I had proof, I wouldn't speculate. That they ditched Weistec may be bad for Weistec; however, I don't see a publically available contract between the two to make a judgement call as to what was ethically questionable. There is nothing right now that comes close to suggesting that anything underhand occurred.
        Well that's very naive of you, how nice. Kleemann just out of nowhere said let's tackle the M156/M159 market. Let's develop our own software and hardware. Let's make that commitment and invest the time/money. The fact we have access to software and hardware of an already working kit is no conflict of interest and I doubt anyone will think we so much as looked at it or tried to copy what is the standard that already exists for that market.

        What scenario do you think is more plausible? Kleemann took advantage of Weistec or they just happened to develop everything on their own in record time while selling Weistec's solution that already existed? They had access to Weistec's software, there's the key.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        'Unlikely' - another ambiguous term. Again, Kleemann are well known for providing tunes for the MB platform. Unless you know otherwise, they could have been working on their version for a long time.
        Yes, it is an ambiguous term. It also is unlikely just as stated.

        You don't know if they had been working on it likely because they had not because they had not announced anything. Your blind faith in easily creating superchargers for the M156 tuned on the stock DME is admirable however. This isn't Gran Turismo though, this is real tuning and you don't just throw together software for a supercharger on a high compression AMG V8 overnight.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        I will be deemed biased because I have used Kleemann products in the past, but nothing you have presented in this post has altered my opinion of Kleemann's reputation. In fact, this type of speculation does the opposite.
        Biased? You don't say.

        Your speculation hasn't altered my opinion. Go get a copy of the Kleemann software and send it to me. We will do a direct comparison with the Weistec software. Let's do it.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        How long was their contract for?
        Did Kleemann use Weistec's software or hardware to develop their own system? If you know something more, just say it. You don't have to post the evidence, just say you know more than you can post for legal purposes (you're a lawyer - I'm sure you can word it appropriately).
        I think what we can agree on here is you don't know as much on this topic as I do. I think you may want to watch this one play out.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        I don't see hard data on their system (to compare to Weistec's system). Do you have these data? Otherwise, are you speculating, or do you know it is an inferior product for sure?
        It's a Magnson TVS2300 ROOTS versus a 3.0 liter Whipple TWIN SCREW. The data for this comparison already exists as they are used on several platforms. I'm sorry, your blind admiration is great but if you don't even know the difference between roots and twin screw blowers and that all the data you need already exists I'm not sure what to tell you. The hardware inferiority is a fact and if you research the hardware you will know the difference as boost increases only becomes larger between the two due to their design. One is more efficient than the other.
      1. mainah's Avatar
        mainah -
        I've seen what happened in the thread that was closed last week, so I'm not going to retort. You will have the last word, and I'm absolutely fine with that.

        Let me close with this:

        1. You know much more than you are letting on. I absolutely acknowledge this. My point is that you should say this explicitly from the start (while at the same time acknowledging that you can't provide evidence, etc. for obvious legal purposes).
        Nobody is doubting that you wrote this yourself! The question is whether Weistec encouraged you to write this or not.

        2. I may have used Kleemann products in the past, but I would absolutely jump all over a Weistec unit over a Kleemann unit if I was going to hang on to my car much longer. I have absolutely no allegiance to either company. Truth be told, I think Weistec is the far more productive and exciting company in recent years and they have fantastic products.

        3. While you have replied to each of my comments above, you haven't said anything new to rebut my contentions. I 100% acknowledge that I don't know enough about the situation. That's one of my points! I'm just conveying my thoughts based on your original post. I really don't think it's fair to confuse my skepticism with naivety (as you put it).

        4. I should have made it clearer: if Kleemann is in fact guilty of what you claim, that is a despicable act. No doubt about it. I'd be the first to condemn them if I saw sufficient evidence.

        Thanks for responding to my first post and I promise to not post further on the matter.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        1. You know much more than you are letting on. I absolutely acknowledge this. My point is that you should say this explicitly from the start (while at the same time acknowledging that you can't provide evidence, etc. for obvious legal purposes).
        Nobody is doubting that you wrote this yourself! The question is whether Weistec encouraged you to write this or not.
        It's obvious I will know more about the situation but I'm not about to implicate myself or anyone else who may be a source to satisfy your curiosity. I get lot's of information from all over and I'm not about to hang people out to dry. There is more than enough there for you to do some of your own research and come to your own conclusions.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        2. I may have used Kleemann products in the past, but I would absolutely jump all over a Weistec unit over a Kleemann unit if I was going to hang on to my car much longer. I have absolutely no allegiance to either company. Truth be told, I think Weistec is the far more productive and exciting company in recent years and they have fantastic products.
        That's fine and I believe you but you admitted bias. That is also fine.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        3. While you have replied to each of my comments above, you haven't said anything new to rebut my contentions. I 100% acknowledge that I don't know enough about the situation. That's one of my points! I'm just conveying my thoughts based on your original post. I really don't think it's fair to confuse my skepticism with naivety (as you put it).
        Your contentions are fairly broad. I said let's go ahead and solve this so let's get Kleemann software and do it. I'm confident in what will be found. I don't believe they resisted the temptation to peak at Weistec's code. What would you put your money on?

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        4. I should have made it clearer: if Kleemann is in fact guilty of what you claim, that is a despicable act. No doubt about it. I'd be the first to condemn them if I saw sufficient evidence.
        Yes, if they are guilty it is despicable and I agree. As stated, there is a way to prove this. This is just the beginning and it is being reported in such a fashion. The ambiguous terms do not implicate or accuse Kleemann directly but there is certainly a lot of circumstantial evidence.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        Thanks for responding to my first post and I promise to not post further on the matter.
        I see no reason why you should feel as if you should not respond.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mainah Click here to enlarge
        I've seen what happened in the thread that was closed last week, so I'm not going to retort. You will have the last word, and I'm absolutely fine with that.
        Somehow you missed I did not have the last word in that thread nor did I feel I needed it. Was a waste of time for everyone and pretty much useless. This is a useful and certainly an interesting thread. One you won't find anywhere else.
      1. Jake@Eurocharged.com's Avatar
        Jake@Eurocharged.com -
        This doesn't surprise me in the least...

        The tuning world is a shady one, everyone knows what each other are doing, and you wouldn't believe the things we hear on a daily basis.

        sad to see...
      1. Weistec's Avatar
        Weistec -
        We really have no comment on this other than Kleemann is no longer a distributor for us and we truly wish them the best of luck with their endeavors.

        We would usually never post anything on the forum regarding things of this nature, however we do now because we would like to lock this thread. Sticky I apologize for this but please lock this up. Thank you.

        Weistec Engineering
      1. folgrz's Avatar
        folgrz -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Weistec Click here to enlarge
        We really have no comment on this other than Kleemann is no longer a distributor for us and we truly wish them the best of luck with their endeavors.

        We would usually never post anything on the forum regarding things of this nature, however we do now because we would like to lock this thread. Sticky I apologize for this but please lock this up. Thank you.

        Weistec Engineering
        Incredibly classy response. Honestly I'm pretty shocked to say the least.

        Best of luck to you guys in the future.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Weistec Click here to enlarge
        We really have no comment on this other than Kleemann is no longer a distributor for us and we truly wish them the best of luck with their endeavors.

        We would usually never post anything on the forum regarding things of this nature, however we do now because we would like to lock this thread. Sticky I apologize for this but please lock this up. Thank you.

        Weistec Engineering
        Locked up.