Tag Archives: High court

Defendant imprisoned for failing to hand over domain name and Facebook page

The High Court has sentenced a defendant to four months in prison for wilfully failing to comply with an order to transfer control of an internet domain name and Facebook page to the claimant.

The defendant had not only failed to take the steps necessary to pass control to the claimant, but had also removed the claimant’s new website from the domain and replaced it with his own website (accessible from the Facebook page) which was similar to that of the claimant and offered similar products with similar get-up.

Database right infringement

The High Court has found 77m (a geospatial address dataset creator) liable for database right infringement.

77m had created a dataset of the geospatial co-ordinates of all residential and non-residential addresses in Great Britain, for which it wished to sell access by combining large amounts of data from various datasets, including data derived from Ordnance Survey (OS). 77m did not get the data from OS directly but got it from other sources and there were complicated licences in place between the parties and the various sources.

The court said that it was irrelevant that 77m had extracted some of the data from a third party dataset rather than the OS database and that it was also irrelevant that it had transferred data only temporarily to a computer and then discarded it. 

Use of confidential information crucial to damages claim

The High Court has found two ex-employees of a claimant (C) liable for breaching their duties of confidence, but has rejected C’s claim for substantial damages. Instead, C was awarded the nominal sum of £2.

C had sought damages of £15 million, based on breaches of duty in copying and retaining confidential files. Crucially, the case was not brought on the basis that the defendants’ misuse of confidential information had caused C to suffer any loss or resulted in the defendants making any financial gain.

In the case of one of the defendants, the copied files were never subsequently accessed or used. The other defendant had made limited use of a few files, but C had not sought a remedy for the use actually made.

This case provides a useful illustration of the court’s approach to damages in cases where liability and breach of duty can be swiftly established, but establishing a loss to the claimant or gain to the defendant is less clear-cut. The judgment highlights the importance of focusing a claim for damages on the realities of the situation, rather than hypothetical outcomes. It also demonstrates that, even in cases of clear wrongdoing, the court’s role is not to punish but to recognise loss suffered, or gains illegitimately made.

Supporter pays for false allegations on football website

The High Court has awarded £30,000 to the chairman of Blackpool Football Club after a supporter of the club posted false allegations on a supporters’ website. An order was also made prohibiting the supporter from repeating the same or similar libels.

In 2015, the supporter posted material alleging that the chairman had entered into a foul-mouthed rant at him in public, had brandished a shotgun in such a manner as to make the supporter believe that he was about to be shot, and had put him in fear of his safety or even his life.

On the day of the court hearing the supporter accepted that the chairman had not, in fact, done what the supported had claimed and unreservedly apologised for an email sent to the chairman’s wife. The court thought it was clear that the email had been intended for the claimant’s wife to receive and read and this was taken into account along with the admission in deciding the amount of the damages.

British police right not to disclose personal data

Two men on trial in Thailand for the murder of two British people in September 2014, made requests to see data held on themselves by British police.

The High Court has affirmed the police decision not to disclose personal data to them.

The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis was found to have correctly applied the Data Protection Act exemptions from complying with subject access provisions where this would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.