In recent years Irish airline Ryanair has been involved in numerous legal battles against so-called ‘screen scrapers’ across Europe. ‘Screen scraping’ is the manner in which some price-comparison websites automatically collect and compare data from various service providers’ websites without such service providers’ consent.
How did the case come about?
Billigfluege, Ticket Point and On the Beach Limited are price comparison websites which compare the prices of flights across multiple airlines, including Ryanair, on a number of different routes. Billigfleuge and Ticket Point, both based in Germany, and On the Beach Limited, which is a UK site, sought to appeal separate decisions of the Irish High Court which had found that their use of Ryanair’s website amounted to an enforceable agreement that they could be sued before the Irish Courts.
The question for the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the High Court had been correct in deciding that the Irish Courts had jurisdiction to hear these cases. The Supreme Court found that the issue centred on what is commonly called the “Brussels I Regulation” which deals with jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters in cross-border litigation. The Regulation provides that a person based in a specific Member State should be sued in that Member State (in this case, Germany and United Kingdom), except where certain exceptions are made including where the parties validly agree to a different choice of jurisdiction.
What was the result?
What effect will this have?
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