28 October, 2016
Success for Ampersand junior in social network dating apps case
Ampersand’s Usman Tariq acted for the successful defenders in a proof before answer about rights in two social network dating apps called Wapo and Wapa.
Lord Tyre’s Opinion (see here) contains a comprehensive analysis on the law of partnership but the case involved wider consideration of IP / IT issues and the rights contained in an app.
A preliminary proof before answer was held before Lord Tyre on whether a partnership existed between the pursuers and and Steven Elliott with the objects of developing and exploiting gay dating apps known as Bender and Brenda for profit. The pursuers argued that a partnership had been formed between them and Mr Elliott not later than 17 October 2009 following a discussion in Vienna. The defenders denied that any such partnership ever existed.
Lord Tyre held that no partnership existed between the pursuers. He explained at paragraphs 30 – 31 of his Opinion that he was “satisfied that an agreement of a business nature was envisaged by Messrs Worbey, Farrell and Elliott during the evening in Vienna … But not every business relationship entered into by two or more individuals with a view to profit is a partnership … The problem for the pursuers in the present case, however, is that beyond the initial proposal of a 51/49 split, there was no evidence that any of the key incidents of a partnership relationship were a matter of express or even implied agreement.”
Lord Tyre went further to express his opinion on the nature of the parties’ business relationship at paragraphs 39 – 40 of his Opinion. He held that there there was insufficient consensus between the parties to create a contractual relationship. He characterised the relationship “as one in which it was their common intention that the pursuers would acquire an interest consisting of a right to a share of the proceeds of exploitation of property consisting of the app, but in which consensus was never reached as to the terms upon which that right was to be obtained.”
Lord Tyre subsequently granted decree of absolvitor to the defenders on 28 October 2016.