Brown Rudnick Clinches Landmark Cross Jurisdictional Ruling in SAS Institute Copyright Dispute For UK Software Company, World Programming Limited
PUBLISHED ON: 12/17/2018
SAS Institute abused legal process by pursuing US action against World Programming to circumvent UK court ruling to crush rival
LONDON, 17TH DECEMBER 2018: International law firm Brown Rudnick LLP secured a landmark victory in the High Court in London when the Court ruled that SAS Institute abused the legal process by bringing duplicative claims against World Programming in the US after it (SAS Institute) had already brought its claims against World Programming in the UK. SAS Institute is prohibited from enforcing the subsequent conflicting $80 million US judgment against World Programming, in a case led for World Programming by Brown Rudnick’s Alex Carter-Silk and Claire Blewett and co-counsel Paul Lowestein QC and Josephine Davies of 20 Essex St Chambers.
The case began in 2009 when SAS Institute brought proceedings against World Programming in the High Court in London for breach of the license in relation to World Programming's use of SAS Institute’s Learning Edition Software that World Programming had purchased from Amazon. SAS Institute was defeated in these claims, including before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In 2010 SAS Institute brought additional proceedings against World Programming in the US making substantially the same allegations it made the year before in the UK. On this occasion, SAS Institute added claims for alleged fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practice (UDTPA), which it alleged were independent and not precluded by the previous action in the UK. The commencement of duplicative proceedings in the US was forum shopping.
The US court refused to adopt the prior UK judgment and issued a contradictory judgment. On the basis of that US judgment, SAS Institute's advisors wrote to customers of World Programming to demand that money owed to World Programming be paid instead to SAS Institute. The High Court in London has now ruled that the US judgment is unenforceable.
Following the case at the High Court, Mrs Justice Cockerill ruled that SAS Institute abused legal process by bringing claims in the US instead of in the UK (where they were bound to fail) and so is prevented from enforcing those claims. It is expected that all countries outside of the US, whether by treaty or law, will respect the primacy of the judgments of the EU and English Courts.
High Court judge Mrs Justice Cockerill has held that SAS Institute must repay World Programming all payments made in respect of “multiple” damages awarded by the US court and that none of the US damages award can be enforced in England. SAS Institute's attempts to enforce its US judgment against World Programming have been denied: it has been confirmed that SAS Institute cannot circumvent the original ruling of the UK court.
Alex Carter-Silk, Partner and Head of European Intellectual Property at Brown Rudnick commented: “This is a clear and powerful rebuke to commercial litigants that seek to shop around jurisdictions until the desired outcome is reached. The technical legal arguments were fierce and fought against multiple layers of litigation in various jurisdictions. We are delighted to have achieved this result for World Programming – not only on the face of the legal argument but also based on the overall commercial imperative of the ruling”.
No court has ever found that World Programming’s WPS Analytics software infringes any SAS Institute copyright.
The judgment can be found at: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Comm/2018/3452.html<http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Comm/2018/3452.html
A more detailed analysis will be available in due course on the World Programming blog at: https://www.worldprogramming.com/blog
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