Actu de l'ile Maurice
Judiciaire

Sports Data Feed Ltd n’est qu’un ‘sale representative’ pas un exclusive licensee de FDC, conclut la Cour

Sports Data Feed Ltd n’est qu’un ‘sale representative’ pas un exclusive licensee de FDC, conclut la Cour
Le juge écrit: "I find that the plaintiff has failed to show to my satisfaction that it is an exclusive licensee of FDC"

Sports Data Feed ltd a subi un sérieux revers en Cour dans l’affaire l’opposant à Silvers Sports, organisateur des paris sur les matches de football joués à l’étranger.I find that the plaintiff has failed to show to my satisfaction that it is an exclusive licensee of FDC in relation to the IP rights that subsist in the said ‘Fixture Lists’ and ‘Football Data’ and that the defendant has been in breach of such IP rights, écrit le juge Angoh dans son ruling délivré ce 3 septembre 2018.

Après avoir écouté les différentes parties et analysés les témoignages de plusieurs personnes dans cette affaire, dont le Directeur de Sports Data Feed Ltd, de Silver Sports Ltd et des Anglais dont David Folker, le juge a fait ressortir que les droits exclusifs n’ont pas été accordés puisque la partie mauricienne n’est qu’un sales representative. “As regards the 2012 agreement, I note that the plaintiff was appointed the ‘sole sales representative’ for UK League Data in Mauritius but still does not possess the quality which is essential for a recognised copyright owner. As per clause 2.1 of that agreement dated 7 August 2012, it is mentioned that “DataCo hereby confirms that the Professional Football Leagues have (by separate agreements) authorised DataCo to sub-licence the League Data to third parties” (Emphasis is underlined). Based on what has been stipulated in those two previous agreements, it can only be concluded that the above-mentioned UK League Data has been licensed to other parties other than the plaintiff.”

Le juge a également passé au crible les différents “agreements” entre Sports Data Feed Ltd et Dataco Ltd, qui avait, lui, obtenu ce droit de la Professional Football Leagues. Du coup, il se confirme que Sports Data Feed Ltd, très proche d’un homme d’affaires très engagé dans le monde du betting, mais qui a comme Directeur à Maurice, Ramjit Sahadeo, avait d’abord été le sales representative (accord de 2011) avant de devenir l’Exclusive licensee de FDC en 2012. Ramjit Sahadeo a indiqué en Cour que ce contrat expire en 2019.

Il est impératif de différencier entre un sale representative et un exclusive licensee

Un point a attiré l’attention de la Cour et le juge Angoh a précisé que Sports Data Feed ltd n’est pas un exclusive licensee. Il écrit: “On the intellectual property rights which the plaintiff claims to hold as an exclusive licensee, it is apposite to note that this is not the case as can be glanced at clause 10.1 of the 2013 agreement wherein it is stipulated that “SDF acknowledges that the UK Professional League owns any and all copyright, database rights or other intellectual property rights that may subsist in the Data relating to their respective competitions”. I agree with the submission of learned counsel for the co-defendant that this agreement does not confer on the plaintiff the exclusive right that in the normal circumstance a copyright owner would enjoy.”

À noter que Bhoomeshwar Benny, qui a témoigné pour la Gambling Regulatory Authority, a, lui affirmé qu’il n’a jamais été demandé au défendeur d’avoir l’autorisation de SDF et que ce dernier n’a jamais d’ailleurs demandé à l’instance régulatrice de ne pas émettre une licence en faveur de Silver Sports Ltd pour prendre des paris sur les matches joués en Angleterre.

Le juge va encore plus loin. “I am of the opinion that the agreements entered into between FDC and the plaintiff fail to state in clear and unequivocal terms that the plaintiff was authorised, to the exclusion of all other persons, a right that would otherwise be exercisable solely by it as a genuine copyright owner. Those three agreements, for the reasons mentioned in my above analysis, fail to manifest a promise or an undertaking not to grant to anyone else a similar licence in the plaintiff’s area of exclusivity.”

Sports Data Feed Ltd n’est qu’un ‘sale representative’ pas un exclusive licensee de FDC, conclut la Cour