Wednesday 17 January 2018

Supreme Court reverses order in Ryanair's ongoing case against reseller

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

THE High Court shouldn't have ordered a German screen-scraping firm to disclose the identity of a service provider on foot of an application from Ryanair, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Ryanair has sued German firm Unister – a so-called screen scraper – in an effort to prevent the company from reselling its tickets. The action started in 2009. The pair are also involved in litigation in Germany.

Ryanair has insisted that Unister's actions, where it sells the airline's flights on to customers and charges them a commission, violates the terms of its own website.

Legitimate

Unister has insisted that its actions are perfectly legitimate. It has claimed that it doesn't directly access the Ryanair website but instead receives the information via a third-party provider.

It has also argued that the litigation being pursued should be taking place in Germany, not Ireland.

Unister didn't want to reveal the name of that provider, but in 2011 High Court proceedings here, Ryanair sought an order from the court to force Unister to reveal its identity.

The court granted that order, but Ryanair had already become independently aware of the identity of one third-party provider as a result of legal proceedings in Germany.

That third-party provider, Ypsilon, was then joined by the High Court to Ryanair's action against Unister.

Unister appealed the High Court order instructing it to reveal the name of the third-party provider and also appealed against the decision to join Ypsilon to the action. Other appeals are also under consideration.

This week Judge Frank Clarke said in a judgment that he was satisfied the disclosure order issued in 2011 "should not have been made".

He said that the High Court should be "slow to make orders" where a jurisdictional challenge is pending. He reversed the High Court's decision.

However, he said that he was not satisfied that there was not "any legitimate basis" for resisting the application to have Ypsilon joined to the action, and affirmed that it could be.

Ryanair said it doesn't comment on pending legal action.

Irish Independent

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