Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Friday | October 16, 2009
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GKRS lawyers optimistic about Paymaster suit
Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

GraceKennedy Remittance Services Ltd (GKRS) is optimistic that Paymaster Jamaica Ltd cannot prove its claim which alleges breach of copyright over a software programme.

Paymaster has sued GKRS, which operates Bill Express, and is seeking to recover more than $1 billion in damages.

Computer programmer Paul Lowe, who designed the multipayment-billing system for Paymaster and GKRS, has also been sued by Paymaster. Lowe is contending that he is the owner of the software programme. After Paymaster closed its case yesterday, John Vassell, QC, one of the lawyers representing GKRS, submitted that nowhere in the world did copyright protect an idea. He said the Copyright Act protected a software programmer.

No copyright

Vassell said further that a computer programmer who wrote a programme would have copyright to that programme. He said Audrey Marks, founder and chief executive officer of Paymaster, was saying she had copyright to the software programme because she told Lowe what to write. Vassell said the defence was contending that she did not tell Lowe what he should write.

Vassell submitted that Paymaster had a fundamental difficulty on the issue of copyright and could not succeed in its claim.

Yesterday, businessman Brian Goldson, who was called as a defence witness, said he was former managing director of GKRS. He said in 1992, he was general manager and in 1996, he was promoted to managing director.Cross-examined by Dr Lloyd Barnett, who is representing Paymaster, Goldson said that in 1996, he spoke to Marks who was putting forward a proposal for GraceKennedy to finance the establishment of a multipayment business. He said he thought the proposal was interesting "but our interest in 1996 was appointing Paymaster as a Western Union agent".

No business plan

Goldson said he did not think the proposal was one worth pursuing. He said he did not tell her that he had no interest in her proposal.

He said he did not receive a business plan from Marks when she approached him for financing, though Marks explained to him the nature of the business she was formulating.

Justice Roy Jones is hearing the suit, which began on Monday in the Supreme Court.

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