Sunday 20 January 2019

Microsoft wins bid to sue two Saudi firms in Irish court

Case: Microsoft Ireland applied to have the proceedings fast-tracked into the High Court’s commercial list. Stock image
Case: Microsoft Ireland applied to have the proceedings fast-tracked into the High Court’s commercial list. Stock image

Tim Healy

Microsoft Ireland Operations is suing two Saudi Arabian firms in the Commercial Court for more than $31m allegedly owed under various 'channel partner agreements'.

Arabic Computer Systems (ACS), was described in court documents as a long-standing partner, accounting for about half of sales of Microsoft licences in Saudi Arabia.

The case is against Saudi firms ACS and National Technology Group. It relates to Microsoft Channel Partner Agreements allegedly entered into in September 2014 and September 2016. Eoin McCullough, for Microsoft Ireland, applied to have the proceedings fast-tracked into the High Court's commercial list.

The claim against ACS concerned goods supplied to ACS while the claim against the second defendant was as guarantor of the debt, he said.

Rejecting arguments that Microsoft's delay in pursuing the matter to court disentitled it to the benefit of fast-track procedures, counsel said there was a long-standing commercial relationship and Microsoft had thought ACS was experiencing a cash flow problem and would honour its obligations. The first his side heard of a defence to the claim "on the merits" was after Microsoft initiated these proceedings.

That defence was that the parties who had entered the relevant contracts were not authorised to do so, the court heard. In court documents, Microsoft says the relevant agreements provided for any dispute to be determined in the Irish courts.

Another reason it wanted the case fast-tracked here was because it had been advised, as a matter of Saudi law, that no interest can be recovered on any judgment sum obtained in the Irish courts, it said. Joe Jeffers BL, for the defendants, said they maintain the Irish courts have no jurisdiction in the matter and had entered a conditional appearance only.

Counsel argued Microsoft's delay was such that the case should not be fast-tracked.

Mr Justice Haughton said he would admit the case to the commercial list. He returned the case to late February.

Irish Independent

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