International Business Law
Liebermann, Inc. was a small computer company started in Marina Del Rey, California by Miguel Liebermann and Lisa Cienewski in September of 2002. The company rose to fame after offering for sale computing products with specifications far above what was commercially available at the time.From the first day of operations, the company suffered from much public scrutiny and criticism due to the apparently wild claims it made about its products’ capabilities which hard-boiled PC buyers took and immediate distaste to. They were featured on the cover of Maximum PC within their first week of opening doors as well as on the HBO series Sex and the City where their famous monitors can be seen in the New York penthouse of the character Alexandre Petrovski, in season six.
Despite this, several leading technology bloggers concluded that the small company was an elaborate hoax, refusing to believe such high-performing computers could be manufactured and despite the company’s initial success and valid claims from satisfied customers around the world. Due to this public skepticism, much information concerning the company is bias and with no foundation, ultimately being the demise for the lack of success Liebermann, Inc. achieved in the end.
In October of 2004, Liebermann, Inc. closed its doors citing cash flow problems stemming from the inability to meet demands and the lack of confidence for credit companies to do business with a technology entity. The price of making an shipping computers was more than the company could afford to put down in advance and requested that their customers pay first and trust that units would be shipped to them in a timely manner. There is much evidence to support that indeed they did ship several products to customers both in the United States and abroad.
The company was partially bought by a Canadian venture capital firm and in subsequent months, the company officially changed into a publicly owned subsidiary, trading under the symbol LITL.PK in the New York Stock Exchange as well as in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the number ISIN US5018791005 or symbol D7J. The trading of the company in the European market was a key step in expanding their business to European consumers as part of their marketing and sales strategies. The company name was changed to L International Computer, Inc. although their official homepage remained the same at www.go-L.com. While publicly trading, it is unknown whether the company sold units during this period and no evidence supports any fraudulent activity in misleading customers, not shipping products that had been paid for or false advertising.
Liebermann Inc. produces, markets and distributes high-performance, opulent PC/Windows(C) laptop, desktop, workstation and server computers.
The Company also produces the largest and most spectacular personal & professional computer displays and ultra-high performance software, peripherals and technologies. Liebermann’s advertised products included a dual processor notebook, a 5.0 GHz “Personal Super Computer”, and a widescreen monitor consisting of up to five LCD panels connected together.
They also made customized laptops with gold plating and precious stones set into the keyboard to the high-end luxury market at nominal prices. Signature engraving was available as an option as well as fully-customizable internal components. The company also offered re-branded versions of products made by other companies, often at much higher prices than the original. While this may appear fraudulent and inconsistent, it should be noted that several known PC manufacturers, such as VooDoo PC, entertain the same practices of purchasing white box computers, branding them with their logos and selling them at higher prices to the consumer.
What set Liebermann, Inc. apart form the their competitors were their claims to manufacturer computers at specifications so far superior to available merchandise, they were completely unheard of at the time and touted as impossible. However, many of Liebermann’s claims were not without precedent or beyond the bounds of possibility. A case in point: its November 2003 announcement of a notebook based on Intel’s desktop-oriented Pentium 4 Extreme Edition chip was widely scorned – until Dell announced one of its own three months later.
Miguel Liebermann founded the company with the vision of meeting the needs of demanding entertainment, TV, film, music and advertising industry professionals who at that time were switching from the Apple/Mac platform or looking for performance PCs not available elsewhere. He has been the CEO of the Company since its inception. Mr. Liebermann (a film director) first came across the idea of launching his own Company in 1999 when he became frustrated with the “limited computing” performance of his PowerBook running Adobe Premiere while trying to finish a Coca-Cola commercial.
While based in Marina Del Rey, Liebermann, Inc. claimed to have made all their computers by hand in a warehouse with no more than 15 employees, most of which were students from nearby universities and friends of Liebermann himself that worked as interns for no pay. The truth of this claims is not confirmed and there is no record of payroll receipts or tax returns during this period which suggests that this could be true. It adds to the mistrust of consumers who believed the company to be a hoax and adds to the unlikeliness of a handful of college students manufacturing high-end computers for no pay.
Patrick Smyth was appointed as a director of L International in October 2005, after the company was partially bought by a Canadian firm. Smyth represented the financial side of the company that was based in Canada while Mr. Liebermann remained the creative director and person responsible for manufacturing and selling products. Mr. Smyth has a number of years of experience in building of infrastructure and management of private and public companies especially in the Internet technology and online gaming industries. Before joining L International he was severing as the Chairman and CEO of Gaming Transactions Inc. (a leading provider of online gaming portal management). He has also served as the President and Director of CYOP International Inc. where Mr. Smyth was responsible for Global Growth Strategies, Investors relations, and Market Research.
There is little information on other company members although other persons as mentioned with having worked with the company including Manjit S. Sandhu as Chief Business and Product Development Officer Worldwide, Elizabeth Parker as Chief Financial Officer and Lisa Ciesnewski as an original partner in the start-up company. There is little background on any of these persons and due to the company’s closure and infamous clout, many of them can no longer be found.
Liebermann, Inc.’s Organizational objectives were as follows:
- Finalizing first line of products development and deploy manufacturing and domestic and international sales and post-sales structure.
- Launching of central website and online store with full capabilities for customization and product purchases at all levels for both the domestic and international markets via localized translated versions, strategically customized to each specific country’s target audiences and markets.
- Finalizing securing worldwide distribution agreements ensuring high-volume trading and distribution capabilities.
- Opening the first “L” retail store in the North American Market to serve as a first pilot to promote the high-end corporate image, becoming the fundamental location for new design showcase and direct sales.
- Opening 2 additional domestic and 1 international store(s) after that within a one to two year calendar period.
- Securing an effective direct and indirect marketing and advertising strategy to gradually expand sales reach into a global campaign.
- Establish a leading presence in web direct-to-consumer and business via retail channels sales.
- Establish a no-contest International markets presence, especially in Europe, South American and Middle-East markets.
- Capitalize on existing distributor agreements that exist in the UK, Australia, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, South America, and Spain.
According to Miguel Liebermann, CEO of Liebermann Inc., stated, “Liebermann products is positioned by the mainstream market not as “the computers you need”, but, “the technology you love”, and by the high-end luxury and professional markets as the absolute no contest highest performance & upper class hardware solutions provider at any price point. Our customer can look forward to being delivered a product that combines both opulence and perfection.” To accomplish their European markets, L has set up a number of distribution plans including one for larger scale companies that desire to be a main distributor / reseller for an entire country or territory in exchange for a large volume discount. This plan requires a $3 Million commitment with quarterly purchases of a minimum of $750,000 along with the ability to set up other distributor plans and resellers, a 5% MDF and the ability to handle warranty, replacement, technical support and training.
This sales and distribution agreement is also of strategic relevance in the marketing and promotion of the corporation in the European and international investment markets, where broadening the need for new technological innovations and high-end electronics is almost without competition at this level of guaranteed sales figures.
International Distribution Program
The Company’s International Distribution’s Program encompasses three different tiers to include large and smaller scale operations as follows: The Platinum Distribution Plan The Platinum Distribution Plan is set up for larger scale companies that desire to be a main distributor/reseller for an entire country or territory in exchange for a large volume discount. This plan requires a $3 million commitment with quarterly purchases of a minimum of $750,000, along with the ability to set up other distributor plans and resellers, a 5% MDF and the ability to handle warranty, replacement, technical support and training. The Gold Distribution Plan The Gold Distribution Plan is set up for medium scale companies that desire to work under the umbrella of a Platinum distributors plan until they reach a level high enough to become a Platinum member. This plan requires a $1.2 million commitment with quarterly purchases of a minimum of $300,000, along with the ability to set up resellers, a 2% MDF, and the ability to handle warranty, replacement, technical support and training. The Silver Distribution Plan The Silver Distribution plan is set up for smaller scale companies and operations that desire to handle a volume of $600,000, and would fall under both the Platinum and Gold Distributor plans country or territory.
As of October 19, 2005, the marketing campaign of L International Computer, Inc. was developed from within the company and outlines as follows:
1. Build an external and international sales force
2. Create and maintain the most aggressive and compelling web presence associated with AD agency class, advertising, promotion plans and creative co-ad programs.
3. Promote innovative product branding, company image, corporate logo and market effective nationwide slogan campaigns.
4. Solidify strong relationships with leading hardware and software developers and manufactures, distributors, industrial designers and associated complementary businesses.
By showcasing the lavishness and magnificence of technologies and world-class buying power, Liebermann aims to uniquely dominate the luxury high-end electronics market as the industry’s reference name. The company believes that “Shoppers’ appetites for HT related high-end electronics, desktop boxes, HTPCs and related media devices, front and rear projection displays and gadgets helped boost sales of consumer electronics by 11 percent in 2004 and should lead to an equally large bump in 2005, as reported by the Consumer Electronics Association. Furthermore, the CEA stated that its preliminary estimates show that consumer electronics revenue increased to $113.5 billion in 2004. That marks a higher-than-expected 11 percent jump from 2003. Our company intends to create and capture and deliver on the growth of the high-end market.”
After being acquired as LITL.PK, L International Computer, Inc. came into much scrutiny for fraudulent investor activity and trading stock unlawfully. SEC investigations have been opened against the company for misuse of funds and consumer fraud but have been found so far to be unsubstantiated. It appears as though the Canadian firm that bought over the original Liebermann, Inc. company has had a history of stock scams with previous companies and have been involved in illegal online gaming as well manipulating of stocks. It is this parent company that is under large investigation, while L International Computer, Inc. seems to be a mere victim of their. This is an unfortunate example of poor advice and management and a classic case of “financial know-hows” who take advantage of smaller start-up operations with no financial knowledge and corrupt a company that might have otherwise done well for themselves.
Miguel Liebermann, the CEO and founder of the company issued a closing letter in April of 2007 stating the company’s unfortunate demise and that operations could no longer continue due to a combination of a lack of funds, a stained company image and lack of support and resources to compete in the technology market globally as was visioned by the company. The start-up company from Marina Del Rey that began operation with zero dollars and made more noise in its first week than most PC companies drew worldwide attention throughout their history of operations. Although they had many critiques, many of their “bogus claims” turned out to be possible and their ideas of placing solid state drives into notebooks five years ago is only now become a mainstream idea. This is a company that was far ahead of its time and emerged into a market and consumer base that was not ready for such technological innovations. Had Liebermann, Inc. started a few years later or even today with the radical ideas they proposed five years ago, they would still be ahead of much of their competition. Their company website proposed to sell laptops with up to 3.0GHz of speed five years ago, a speed at which laptops are just now beginning to reach.
According to numerous press releases and their presence in the international markets, it seems L International Computer, Inc. was initially headed in the right direction and had some support and much interest in foreign markets. They were able to sign a few distribution plans which never came to fruitation as well as render contracts to have trenches of funds sent, which also never saw the light of day. The company also seemed to suffer from a general lack of knowledge and expertise concerning marketing, finances, and manufacturing operations. Although they were successful as a small company in Marina Del Rey, their transition into a fully-fledged PC manufacturer with large inventory and a world-wide distribution market failed. Not having the right management and persons who were able to take the company to the heights they set out to achieve became their biggest demise. This in addition to the partnership with a company that had a history of fraudulent activity seems an irresponsible and immature move, reflecting a greediness to move forward too quickly without the right foundation.
*6 month stock chart for LITL.PK from October 2007 to present.
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