Sky wins damages for infringing TV use in hotels


The High Court in Ireland has awarded Sky €128,408 in damages for copyright and trademark infringements.

The case involved two of Dublin's most luxurious hotels; the Clarion and the five-star Merrion. The hotels had unknowingly been using a supply of Sky television channels that had not been authorized by Sky. The system was provided by Digivision Satellite Systems Limited, which has since been dissolved. Judge Peter Kelly in the High Court awarded Sky damages after the company secured a judgment against Brendan O'Halloran, a former director of Digivision Satellite Systems Limited. Kelly sits in the Commercial Court, formed just two years ago, which has the power to deal specifically with IP cases and which has a fast-tracked system, ensuring that cases can be heard quickly.

Sky found out about the infringement of its IP rights after it appointed a piracy specialist based in Dublin. The hotels had paid for the unauthorized television systems in good faith and were not complicit in the breaches of Sky's rights. To show Sky digital in commercial premises, such as hotels, there must be an agreement in place with Sky.

It is possible that the hotels may have a claim against the directors of Digivision Satellite Systems Limited, since the company is no longer in existence, for damages. It remains to be seen, however, whether they will embark upon such a course.

Carol Plunkett, William Fry Solicitors, Dublin

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