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Court Rules on Bitter Software Contract Dispute

In a case which some might view as a testimony to the wisdom of compromise, the bitterly opposed parties to a contract for the provision and maintenance of specialist software for mobile phones resorted to costly High Court litigation to resolve their differences.

A small software company had for six years worked closely with a trade body which represented mobile network operators. However, the relationship ended in acrimony and, following termination of their contractual relationship, battle lines were drawn with each party claiming to be owed substantial sums by the other.

The result was a hard-fought hearing, stretching over three days, during which the parties each deployed counsel and solicitors to debate their respective entitlements and the correct interpretation of the contract. The Court noted the ‘increasing loss of goodwill’ between the parties in the dying days of the contract.

In a lengthy judgment, the Court found, amongst other things, that there had been some ‘over-charging’ by the software company but that there were also sums that it was owed. Striking a balance between the parties, the Court ruled that the net sum due from the software company to the trade association was £116,726.