Attempts by court to settle a dispute between Copedu bank and ADFinance have backfired. The two parties do not agree with findings contained in the experts report on whether the software involved was abused.
ADFinance sued it’s client(Copedu) for manipulating their banking software to continue benefiting from it. The software links all Copedu bank branches across the country.
Disagreement between ADFinance and Copedu forced them to seek arbitration from court – the court later instructed an independent team of IT experts to investigate whether the software had been pirated.
Last week the Nyarugenge Commercial Court received an investigation report on the alleged piracy.
Copedu argued that they had no control over the software and it was self – operating while the plaintiff claimed its operational rights had been pirated therein.
Appearing before the commercial court today December 9, 2016, both parties were asked to comment on the report findings-which they had a week to review, before a court decision is taken to start an in-depth trial.
“We have started late we cannot try this case out of working hours. But I would like to hear your views on the report before we set a date” Court president, James Ntungane said.
Both parties said that they have reservations about the report findings. Copedu claimed the report was not comprehensive in showing the primary cause of the piracy claims while ADFinance said they need to practically demonstrate how their software was manipulated.
“We need to show court how this software works and how it was overridden by our client. This is the only way to prove our case” said Abel Nsengiyumva, the ADFinance lawyer.
Copedu represented by two lawyers didn’t give the plaintiff chance to push this idea and immediately interjected asking court to allow them have other IT experts do the demonstration.
“The demonstration cannot be done by the same person accusing us. We fear they may manipulate the system in their favour. We want a neutral IT expert to do this” said Eric Barahira, the Copedu lawyer.
In less than a minute another Copedu lawyer Jean Damascene Kayitana also intervened defending the idea arguing that the report was not definite in showing who is in fault.
ADFinance lawyer and the company representative asked court that the demonstration could be done in front of court in the presence of IT experts from both parties; to prove their point on piracy.
Copedu lawyers stood their ground saying that where the demonstration is done, they want an independent IT expert team to do it.
After an extended debate outside the court’s intended plan of the hearing, both parties consented on having an independent IT team to do the demo.
Court president Ntungane, said that choice of two parties was their own and court would not meet the costs beyond what they have so far.
“We hired an expert under Articles 78 and 79 provided by the law. If you choose to do another expert demonstration of the software, you will meet the costs and who ever looses this can will incur these extra costs” Ntungane said.
Both parties agreed on having a shared cost in hiring another team of IT experts to demonstrate how the software operates and possibilities of how it could have been pirated or not.
The commercial court will hold another hearing on the case on January 20, 2017.
Privacy and property rights cases are common in Rwanda. For example multinational companies like Nike, Sony have sued Rwanda firms for copying their brands.
Police sources told local radio journalists last week that such cases are common and the companies have presented their requests to police to have such practices stopped.
Police says that local companies have complied to these requests and the copyright battles solved but their existence is not new in the country.