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UPDATE: Paymaster wins appeal against GraceKennedy in confidentiality lawsuit

Published:Friday | March 27, 2015 | 2:20 PMBarbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

GraceKennedy Remittance Services, the operators of Bill Express, could have to pay millions to its competitor, Paymaster Jamaica Limited, after Paymaster won an appeal in its breach of confidentiality lawsuit.

The Court of Appeal this afternoon ruled that GraceKennedy did not breach Paymaster’s copyright.

However, the court said it was of the firm view that GraceKennedy made use of Paymaster’s business plan, which it obtained in confidence, and clearly took an unfair advantage of the company while it had the document in its possession.

The head of Paymaster, Audrey Marks, had testified that when she came up with the idea of a bill payment service, she went to Grace Kennedy in 1996 with a business plan and sought to get the company to come on board her Paymaster project.

In its judgment, the appeals court said while some of the information in the business plan could have been available to the public , Paymaster’s concept and idea were private.

It further said GraceKennedy should have exercised special care not to have used the information in a prejudicial way towards Paymaster.

The court said GraceKennedy was bound by confidence not to abuse Paymaster’s business plan.

Grace Kennedy was ordered to pay damages and legal costs to Paymaster.

Meanwhile, the Appeals Court dismissed Paymaster’s appeal against computer programmer, Paul Lowe, for breach of contract, copyright infringement and breach of confidence.

The court said Lowe is the owner of the software.

It also said that Lowe is entitled to licence the software to anyone and in doing so he would not be in breach of his contract to Paymaster.

The court awarded damages to Lowe and ordered Paymaster to pay his legal costs.

In a statement this evening, GraceKennedy advised that while the Court’s decision is respected, based on advice from its attorneys-at-law, it's confident that there is a strong basis for appeal.

The company has further advised that it has instructed its attorneys, Michael Hylton QC and Courtney Bailey instructed by DunnCox, to apply for permission to appeal to the Privy Council.