Result in Welcome Real-Time vs Catuity Court Case
After a battle that started in the Australian courts last year, the Federal Court of Australia has ordered loyalty programme provider, Catuity, to provide French smart card loyalty programme developer Welcome Real-Time with an affidavit setting out an estimate of sums received arising from making or selling, or offering to make or sell, point of sale terminals, chip cards or software for use in the Catuity system. Welcome then has the option to pursue either a damages claim or an account of Catuity’s profits arising from the infringements.
The court has also ordered that Catuity pay Welcome’s legal costs to date. While it ordered injunctions preventing Catuity from infringing Welcome’s patent, Welcome acknowledged that immediate implementation of the injunctions for the CIT/Transcard system could inconvenience Australian merchants and Australian customers, and agreed to Catuity winding down that system over a period of 3 months. However, no such delay was ordered for the operation of the injunctions against the Catuity system. Catuity has also been ordered to hand over to its solicitors all CIT/Transcard and Catuity devices in its possession in Australia as on that day.
Catuity’s statement Catuity has since issued a statement, saying that:
“Justice Heerey of the Federal Court of Australia yesterday [24 Jul 2001] issued Orders in relation to the Australian patent infringement action commenced by Welcome Real-time (WRT) against Catuity.
“In essence, the judge adopted a simple and straightforward approach and ordered Catuity not to infringe the WRT Australian patent in Australia. Catuity did not seek a stay of the Orders because the Orders were substantially those proposed by Catuity.
“The judge stated clearly that “the product, the use of which would infringe the patent, must be a product which infringes all the essential integers of the patent”. Prior to these Orders being issued, Catuity made changes to its product and therefore the Catuity product no longer infringes the patent. These changes have had no detrimental effect on either the performance or functionality of the system.
“Catuity can now continue to develop, market and sell its product in Australia and elsewhere.
“Since it is impractical to change the existing Transcard operations in Western Sydney, we have agreed with the major customers that the previously planned closure of Transcard will occur as soon as possible.”
Contacts for both sides are as follows: