Planet Ace Ltd v Hendon Mob and others was decided yesterday and noted on the LexisNexis All England Direct subcription-only service. Planet ran a website, supported by a database, which provided detailed statistical and other information on aspects of the game of poker which was continuously updated. The Hendon Mob, admitting it took information from Planet's website for the purpose of constructing its own website, gave undertakings to stop infringing the copyright in Planet's database. Planet then applied for an interim order that the Hendon Mob take down the database from their website, arguing that the copying of information from its database had been so extensive that the Mob's database was so inherently infected by that material that it was incapable of effective separation; this being so,the Mob would inevitably profit from Planet's investment in constructing its database. The Court had two consider two issues: (i) had the Mob fully expunged Planet's material from their database and (ii) what relief was Planet likely to obtain at trial?
Mr Justice Evans-Lombe dismissed Planet's application: although Planet had shown there was a serious case to be tried, the balance of convenience pointed away from making the injunction sought. If Planet succeeded at trial, the most feasible and likely outcome would be an award of damages. If injunctive relief the were ordered, it would most likely be a "springboard injunction", to stop the Mob gaining an advantage over other businesses in the same area, since Planet did not have a monopoly in the information it provided, it being available from other sources.
The IPKat sees this as another of those "help yourself and just pay a reasonable royalty" type cases that can make deliberate infringement seem quite an attractive business option for people who don't generate their own information and materials.
How to play poker here
Keeping a poker face here and here