Suit over "copied" carpark system

Further to the captioned article in the Straits Times, Tuesday, May 1, 2001 and our MASNET announcement on August 3, 2000, Mainboard listed, IT systems and technology developer, Stratech Systems Limited ("Stratech") wishes to provide clarification regarding the facts concerning the said suit.

The suit was not based upon an action for patent infringement but for "using confidential information relating to Stratech’s Intelligent Car Park System ("the system"). This action by Stratech was necessary due to the problem of the span of time between the filing of the patent for the system by Stratech and the grant of the same, where one’s rights to certain confidential information may not be protected sufficiently.

This case in question required Stratech to show the following :
  1. that we (Stratech) had provided certain information to Guthrie;
  2. that such information was confidential and protected; and
  3. that it was used by Guthrie.
  4. Stratech succeeded in establishing the first two (2) but could not do so for the third.
Stratech did give Guthrie confidential information and the learned Judge found that the information given was indeed confidential and protected.
Stratech did not succeed in its case because it could not prove the use of the confidential information by Guthrie. Guthrie argued that their sub-contractors independently developed a system with the same features. Stratech in presenting its case relied on evidence such as:
  • the coincidence in timing;
  • similarity of features; and
  • references to Stratech’s system in certain Guthrie documents.
The burden of proof, under the law, was Stratech’s, as the Plaintiff. The learned Judge found that Stratech had not managed to adequately discharge this burden.

Stratech has in fact been granted a short-term patent (ie. for 8 years from October 7, 1999) in Hong Kong on December 22, 2000 and has other patent applications pending in a number of other jurisdictions.

As a technology company, Stratech has to weigh the use and inevitable release of technology expeditiously against waiting until patents are issued, a process, which can take quite a number of years in most cases. Stratech is considering whether to appeal or await the grant of patent, which is expected soon.