Dans l’affiare qui oppose la Sports Data Feed Ltd (SDF) à la société locale Stevenhills Ltd, le juge Abdurafeek Hamuth a, lors de son jugement au début de la semaine, rendu interlocutoire l’ordre qu’il avait émis en faveur du premier mentionné. Pour rappel, la SDFL avait logé un procès contre Stevenhills Ltd, pour utilisation illégale de données (fixtures des rencontres, résultats des matchs, etc.) dont la SDFL soutient qu’elle détient des droits légaux, dont le Copyright.
Les faits sont : Les Fixtures lists concernent « Fixtures Lists of professional football matches played or to be played under the auspices of the UK Leagues or any part of them », alors que les football data se réfèrent « to statistics, information or other data such as those gathered live in the course of football matches, (scores, goals, substitutions of players, etc.) and official match results of such professional football matches ».Or, selon la partie de la défense, la plaignante n’aurait pas respecté le délai émis pour loger une action contre elle. D’autant plus que cette action est restée inexpliquée. Répondant à cet argument, le juge a rappelé que la SDF s’était déjà justifiée sur ce point bien qu’elle aurait pu le faire depuis novembre 2011. «The applicant has argued that it is under our Copyright Act 1997 that it founds its rights and has demonstrated how such right has been vindicated by parties in the same situation as the applicant in the United Kingdom under the UK Copyright Act in force until fairly recently when the new Database Directives (96/9/EC) became applicable», a écrit le juge.
 Pour sa part, le conseil légal de la SDF, qui est composé des Mes Antoine Domingue S.C., Ivan Collendavelloo S.C. et. N. Hussenee, avec Me R. Rajroop en tant qu’avoué, a fait ressortir qu’en vertu de la Copyrignt Act anglaise, qui est similaire à celle qui a été votée en 1977 à Maurice, «the rights to fixtures lists and football data are protected because they constitute an original work and have been held in numerous cases to have required skill». Donnant la réplique à la partie plaignante, Me Yayah Nazroo, avocat de Stevenhills, «has argued that the crux of the matter is that the issue of intellectual property (IP) rights in football data has not been finally adjudicated upon in the United Kingdom, and that to that extent the United Kingdom authorities referred to above cannot be of assistance to the applicant’s case». Face à cet argument, les avocats de la SDFL ont répondu que «that issue concerns the European Union and its twenty eight member states inter se, whereas as far as Mauritius is concerned the combined effect of the pre Database Directives (96/9/EC) jurisprudence in the United Kingdom and the application of our Copyrights Act 1997 and the Berne Convention secures the position of the applicant».
«It is also to be noted that section 2 of our Copyright Act does provide that a copyright owner includes any person who derives title from the original owner… I am satisfied that the applicant has shown that it has at least a serious and arguable case to be tried. Its counsel has also argued in his reply to the respondent’s written submissions that prejudice and loss to it if the respondent is not restrained cannot be adequately compensated by damages, whereas that would not be the case for the respondent if the latter wins the day in the main case. I agree with the arguments pressed on its behalf on that score. At least the determination of the extent of damages to the applicant would pose real difficulties, and may be impossible of assessment» , a précisé le juge Abdurafeek Hamuth.
En attendant le jugement, la Stevenhills a déposé une caution de Rs 1,5 million sous forme de garantie bancaire valable jusqu’à l’issue de l’affaire en Chambre.