Navitaire Inc v Easyjet Airline Co and Another: ChD 30 Jul 2004

The claimant alleged infringement of its copyright in a software system which dealt with airline reservations. It was not said that any code had been copied, but merely that an express requirement of the defendant ordering the system was that it should appear similar to the claimant’s system; it should have its look and feel. The system used entry codes to locate flights etc. The codes used were the same.
Held: Neither the codes nor the compilation of them were entitled to copyright protection: ‘Copyright protection for computer software is a given, but I do not feel that the courts should be astute to extend that protection into a region where only the functional effects of a program are in issue. There is a respectable case for saying that copyright is not, in general, concerned with functional effects, and there is some advantage in a bright line rule protecting only the claimant’s embodiment of the function in software and not some superset of that software. The case is not truly analogous with the plot of a novel, because the plot is part of the work itself. The user interface is not part of the work itself. One could permute all the letters and other codes in the command names, and it would still work in the same way, and all that would be lost is a modest mnemonic advantage. ‘
Pumfrey J
[2005] ECDR 17, [2004] EWHC 1725 (Ch), [2006] RPC 111
Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992
England and Wales
CitedHollinrake v Truswell CA 1894
Davey LJ said: ‘Now, a literary work is intended to afford either information and instruction, or pleasure, in the form of literary enjoyment. The sleeve chart before us gives no information or instruction. It does not add to the stock of human . .
CitedExxon Corp v Exxon Insurance Consultants International Ltd CA 1982
Single letter commands used within a computer program, and those with longer names, even if clearly recorded in the source code, are unlikely to be entitled to a copyright. . .
CitedJohn Richardson Computers v Flanders ChD 1993
The defendant, had written the program the copyright in which was asserted against his new program. It was accepted that he did not have access to a copy of his earlier work when he wrote the later.
Held: The court rejected any contention of . .
CitedAnderson v Lieber Code Co 1917
The court askeed whether there was a copyright in telegraph codes. The code consisted of 100,000 5-letter words that had been arrived at by generating 450,000 words, from which those that were unpronounceable and those that were likely to lead to an . .
CitedKalamazoo (Aust) Pty v Compact Business Systems Ltd 1985
(Supreme Court of Queensland) The case concerned the copying of a collection of accounting forms which when used together made up an accounting system. Some of the forms were intended to be used in a peg-board system in which writing on the top form . .
CitedIbcos Computers Ltd v Barclays Mercantile Highland Finance Ltd ChD 1994
In cases of claimed copyright infringement, it is not the function of the expert to decide the question of substantiality. In cases of simple visual comparison the court can and should do the visual comparison for itself. A distinction between the . .
CitedAger v Collingridge 1886
. .
CitedDesigners Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd (Trading As Washington DC) HL 28-Nov-2000
Copyright Claim: Was it Copied, and How Much?
The claimant sought to enforce its copyright in artwork for a fabric design Ixia, saying the defendant’s design Marguerite infringed that copyright. Two issues faced the House. Just what had been copied and if any, then did this amount amount to the . .
CitedJarrold v Houlston 1857
The plaintiff had written a work which ‘collects and reduces into the form of a systematic course of instruction those questions which he may find ordinary persons asking in reference to the common phenomena of life, with answers to those questions, . .
CitedSony Computer Entertainment v Paul Owen ChD 23-Jan-2002
Claim for infringement – sale of chip designed to bypass country code control on the claimant’s gaming machines.
Held: An infringement of copyright committed in breach of an injunction restraining such infringement can found an award of . .
CitedKleeneze Ltd v DRG (UK) Ltd 1984
However strikingly original is a work, copyright law alone will not prevent others expressing the same idea themselves, even if the result is similar. . .
CitedHarman Pictures N V v Osborne ChD 1967
The plaintiffs asserted ownership in the copyright in a reproduction in a film of the book ‘The Reason Why’. There had been abortive discussions about the purchase of rights. The defendants intended to proceed with another production. They claimed a . .
CitedMacMillan and Co Ltd v Cooper PC 1923
The purpose of copyright is to protect from misappropriation the skill and labour of the author which is expended on the production of the original work. Anyone can copy the source material. As regards copyright in textbooks containing excerpts from . .

Cited by:
CitedNova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd and others CA 14-Mar-2007
The defendant appealed against a finding of copyright infringement in a computer game.
Held: The appeal failed. The court must identify the artistic work relied upon and then decide whether it has been reproduced by copying of the work as a . .
CitedNova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd and others ChD 20-Jan-2006
The claimant alleged copyright infringement in respect of computer games in the coin operated video market. It was said not that the games copied bitmap graphics, but rather the composite frames which appeared on the screen.
Held: The games . .
CitedForensic Telecommunications Services Ltd v West Yorkshire Police and Another ChD 9-Nov-2011
The claimant alleged infringement by the defendant of assorted intellectual property rights in its database. It provided systems for recovering materials deleted from Nokia mobile phones.
Held: ‘the present case is concerned with a collection . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 January 2021; Ref: scu.219921