Sawyer v Atari Interactive Inc: ChD 1 Nov 2005

The claimant owned the copyright in several successful computer games. He had granted licenses for the use of the software, which licences were assigned to the defendants. Disputes arose as to the calculation of royalty payments, and the claimant sought to exercise his auditing rights. The defendant company in the US handled the accountancy for the group. The defendants argued that the matter should be tried in the US.
Held: The contract provided for the UK as jurisdiction. The bulk of the witnesses and of the evidence and of the sales were in the US. Evidence would also be required from an intermediate licensee in the US. The natural forum was the US. The contract however clearly stipulated for England. The defendant had not made a timely application to challenge jurisdiction as required under the amended rules. Nevertheless, the court had jurisdiction to extend time and would grant it. It was accepted that the claimant had established sufficient prospect of success. The real issue was as to English law as chosen by the parties. The parties has already submitted to an English arbitration. In all the circumstances, the forum for the entire matter should be in England.
Lawrence Collins J
[2005] EWHC 2351 (Ch), [2006] ILPr 8
Civil Procedure Rules 11(1)
England and Wales
CitedInvestors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society HL 19-Jun-1997
Account taken of circumstances wihout ambiguity
The respondent gave advice on home income plans. The individual claimants had assigned their initial claims to the scheme, but later sought also to have their mortgages in favour of the respondent set aside.
Held: Investors having once . .
CitedColumbia Tristar Home Video (International) Inc v Polygram Film International BV (Formerly Manifesto Film Sales BV) CA 8-Feb-2000
The court considered a contract requiring access to be given to accounts records for auditing licence fees. . .
CitedSSQ Europe SA v Johann and Backes OHG 2002
Extension of time to challenge court’s jurisdiction. . .
CitedBFC Aircraft Sales and Leasing Ltd v Ages Group Plc 14-Dec-2001
The court will assume that by expressly choosing English law in a contract, the parties were indicating at least a preference to litigate in England: ‘The choice of the applicable law is, clearly, not so strong a feature as a choice of jurisdiction . .
CitedUSF Ltd v Aqua Technology Hanson NV/SA 30-Jan-2001
Extension of time to challenge jurisdiction of the court. . .
CitedSeaconsar Far East Ltd v Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran HL 15-Oct-1993
A plaintiff must show that there is a ‘serious issue for trial’ to support and justify an application for overseas service. The standard of proof in respect of the cause of action relied on is whether, on the evidence, there was a serious question . .
CitedCanada Trust Company and others v Wolfgang Otto Stolzenberg and others (2) CA 29-Oct-1997
The court looked at questions relating to domicile and jurisdiction; standard of proof, date to be determined and duties before service.
Held: The court is endeavouring to find an imprecise concept which reflects that the plaintiff must . .
CitedCarvill America Incorporated and Another v Camperdown UK Ltd. and others CA 27-May-2005
The claimant must bring evidence to establish that he has a cause of action which can be tried is that his claim has ‘a reasonable prospect of success,’ and this threshold is the same as if the claimant were resisting an application by the defendant . .
CitedBurns-Anderson Independent Network Plc v Francis Henry Wheeler 2005
(Bristol Mercantile Court) The power to extend time to challenge the court’s jurisdiction in a matter was assumed to exist. . .
CitedSpiliada Maritime Corporation v Cansulex Ltd, The Spiliada HL 1986
Forum Non Conveniens Restated
The House reviewed the authorities on the principle of forum non conveniens and restated how to apply the principle where the defendant seeks a stay of proceedings on the ground that there is another more appropriate forum.
Held: ‘In the . .
CitedCanada Trust Co and Others v Stolzenberg and Others (No 2) HL 12-Oct-2000
The plaintiffs alleged the involvement of the defendant in a conspiracy to defraud. He had been domiciled in England, but had moved to Germany. He denied that the UK court had jurisdiction. The court of appeal said that jurisdiction was determined . .
CitedCoast Lines Ltd v Hudig and Veder Chartering NV 1971
Parties who contract to give the UK courts jurisdiction must be taken at least to have wanted a case to be heard by the UK courts. The fact that the foreign forum, notwithstanding the express choice of English law, may not apply English law, and may . .
CitedNima SARL v The Deves Insurance Public Company Ltd; The Prestrioka CA 30-Jul-2002
A marine insurance contract was entered into for goods to be transported between two ports. A side note provided that cover was to start from the time the goods left the warehouse. The Act provided that the insurance was void from the time such a . .
CitedBP Exploration Co (Libya) Ltd v Hunt 1976
The fact that the contract was governed by English law was the predominating factor to be borne in mind when deciding jurisdiction.
The court should be careful before describing as non-disclosure as material not included in an affidavit in . .
CitedBP Exploration Operating Co Ltd v Chevron Transport (Scotland) HL 18-Oct-2001
A ship owned by the defenders caused substantial damage whilst moored at the claimant’s docks. The claim was made against different members of the defendants as they asserted and denied responsibility. The last company asserted that the claim was . .
CitedAmin Rasheed Shipping Corp v Kuwait Insurance Co HL 1983
A claimant must show good reason why service on a foreign defendant should be permitted. This head of jurisdiction was an exorbitant jurisdiction, one which, under general English conflict rules, an English court would not recognise as possessed by . .
CitedIlyssia Compania Naviera SA v Bamaodah ‘The Elli 2’ CA 1985
May LJ considered the creation of a contract by implication, saying: ‘no such contract should be implied on the facts of any given case unless it is necessary to do so: necessary, that is to say, in order to give business reality to a transaction . .
CitedMacSteel Commercial Holdings (Pty) Ltd v Thermasteel V (Canada) Inc CA 1996
The South African and Canadian parties had contracted subject to the law of England. The Canadian company said that England remained inappropriate as the choice of forum.
Held: Jurisdiction was declined.
The distinction between the . .
Citeddu Pont du Nemours v Agnew CA 1987
An application was made to injunct the commencement of proceedings in England.
Held: The request failed. The court was asked whether the English claimants had shown a good argument for invoking the jurisdiction of the English court against . .
CitedMitsubishi Corp v Alafouzos 1988
Elements of English public policy may determine that an English Court is the appropriate forum to hear a case. Steyn J said: ‘one must keep constantly in mind that one is dealing with a head of public policy, which requires the Court to proceed with . .
CitedSeashell Shipping Corporation v Mutualidad de Seguros del Instituto Nacional de Industria (‘The Magnum’ ex ‘Tarraco Augusta’) CA 1989
Where the decision as to forum depends upon the construction of the document or documents in one language and the rival courts are, on the one hand, courts whose native language is that of the document and on the other hand, courts whose native . .

Cited by:
CitedSawyer v Atari Interactive Inc CA 2-Mar-2007
The claimant designed games software and complained of infringements by the defendant of licensing agreements by failing to allow audits as required.
Held: The defendant should be allowed to be heard on the standard practices for management of . .
CitedVTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp and Others SC 6-Feb-2013
The claimant bank said that it had been induced to create very substantial lending facilities by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendants. They now appealed against findings that England was not clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for . .
CitedAmin Rasheed Shipping Corp v Kuwait Insurance Co HL 1983
A claimant must show good reason why service on a foreign defendant should be permitted. This head of jurisdiction was an exorbitant jurisdiction, one which, under general English conflict rules, an English court would not recognise as possessed by . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 January 2021; Ref: scu.234716