Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Thursday | October 15, 2009
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Court told Paymaster software built by Lowe
Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

A former consultant to Paymaster Jamaica Ltd said yesterday under cross-examination that he had no discussions with software developer Paul Lowe about the ownership of copyright for the software programme for Paymaster.

The bill payment company, Paymaster, and its competitor, GraceKennedy Remittance Services Ltd (GKRS), which operates Bill Express, are engaged in a legal battle in the Supreme Court over copyright of a software programme.

Paymaster has taken GKRS and Lowe to court, alleging breach of copyright over a multi-payment collection software programme. Lowe had designed the software programmes for both companies.

Paymaster is seeking to recover more than $1 billion in damages.

GKRS, which is being represented by John Vassell, QC, and Michael Hylton, QC, have denied the allegations that they breached Paymaster's copyright. Lowe is contending that he was not provided with any paymaster specifications for the software programme.Justice Roy Jones has been hearing the suit since Monday. The suit was filed in 2001.Audrey Marks, chief executive officer and founder of Paymaster, testified on Monday at the start of the hearing.

Tried to woo

It is her claim that in the 1990s she shared her business plan with GraceKennedy, which she tried to woo as a business partner. She is claiming that GKRS subsequently made use of the confidential information to establish a similar operation.

Yesterday, Maurice McNaughton, a former consultant to Paymaster, said he had no discussion with Lowe in relation to the ownership of copyright for the software he designed for Paymaster.

He made the statement while being cross-examined by attorney-at-law Vincent Chen, who represents Lowe.

However, McNaughton also said the software was based on Paymaster's instructions to Lowe and was distinctively theirs.

McNaughton was referred to a letter which Lowe had written to Paymaster, stating that the specifications given to him did not provide sufficient details and were not precise. On being asked if he would say the instructions he gave Lowe to write the programme provided sufficient details, McNaughton said he would expect Lowe to develop his own programme specifications, and that was very common.

He confirmed that Lowe wrote the programme, but he said Lowe wrote it based on specifications he gave him.

McNaughton said also that he told Lowe about the business model for Paymaster between 1995 to 1996 during discussions. He said he gave oral briefings of the specifications. McNaughton said he was the person employed by Miss Marks to set up the software system for Paymaster.

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