Thursday 20 June 2019

Expedia fails to secure appeal hearing in US Ryanair legal case

Digital row: Expedia has been accused of ‘screen-scraping’. Photo: Bloomberg
Digital row: Expedia has been accused of ‘screen-scraping’. Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Internet travel giant Expedia has failed in its efforts to secure leave to appeal a decision in the US courts that will see a screen-scraping case taken against it by Ryanair proceed there.

The airline launched a case against Expedia in 2017 in a Washington court, in an effort to prevent the travel firm from selling its flights via so-called screen-scraping.

Ryanair has sued Expedia in Seattle in the case, but also launched related legal action against the online travel agent giant in Dublin. The pair have been at loggerheads since 2016 and the Seattle lawsuit was launched in 2017.

The airline has claimed in the US case that Expedia uses automated computer programmes to 'scrape', or capture fares from Ryanair's website before selling them to Expedia customers who don't then have to visit the Ryanair site to make the airline ticket purchase.

Ryanair generated 28pc, or €2.01bn, of its €7.1bn in total revenue during its 2018 financial year from ancillary revenue.

If passengers bypass the airline's website by buying screen-scraped tickets, Ryanair loses a sizeable opportunity to generate additional revenue.

Expedia, which also owns brands such as Travelocity and Hotels.com, has previously claimed that Ryanair cannot recover any losses it may have incurred under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) that the airline has relied on for claiming in the United States that it has been injured by Expedia's alleged actions.

Expedia had unsuccessfully attempted in the lower court to have the case dismissed and then sought leave to appeal the court's decision.

Irish Independent

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