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England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions >> SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd  EWHC 3012 (Ch) (22 November 2010)
Cite as:  FSR 12,  Eu LR 303,  2 CMLR 9,  EWHC 3012 (Ch)
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Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| SAS INSTITUTE INC.
|- and -
|WORLD PROGRAMMING LIMITED
Martin Howe QC and Isabel Jamal (instructed by Speechly Bircham LLP) for the Defendant
Hearing date: 18 November 2010
Crown Copyright ©
MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD :
The questions and the proposed amendments
"A. On the interpretation of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs and of Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 (codified version):
1. Where a computer program ('the First Program') is protected by copyright as a literary work, is Article 1(2) to be interpreted as meaning that it is not an infringement of the copyright in the First Program for a competitor of the rightholder
without access to the source code of the First Program, either directly or via a process such as decompilation of the object code, to create another program ('the Second Program') which replicates by copying the functions of the First Program?
2. Is the answer to question 1 affected by any of the following factors:
(a) the nature and/or extent of the functionality of the First Program;
(b) the nature and/or extent of the skill, judgment and labour which has been expended by the author of the First Program in devising and/or selecting the functionality of the First Program;
(c) the level of detail to which the functionality of the First Program has been reproduced in the Second Program;
(d) if, the Second Program includes the following matters as a result of copying directly or indirectly from the First Program:
(i) the selection of statistical operations which have been implemented in the First Program;
(ii) the selection of mathematical formulae defining the statistical operations which the First Program carries out;
(iii) the particular commands or combinations of commands by which those statistical operations may be invoked;
(iv) the options which the author of the First Program has provided in respect of various commands;
(v) the keywords and syntax recognised by the First Program;
(vi) the defaults which the author of the First Program has chosen to implement in the event that a particular command or option is not specified by the user;
(vii) the number of iterations which the First Program will perform in certain circumstances;
d) if the source code for the Second Program reproduces by copying aspects of the source code of the First Program to an extent which goes beyond that which was strictly necessary in order to produce the same functionality as the First Program?
3. Where the First Program interprets and executes application programs written by users of the First Program in a programming language devised by the author of the First Program which comprises keywords devised or selected by the author of the First Program and a syntax devised by the author of the First Program, is Article 1(2) to be interpreted as meaning that it is not an infringement of the copyright in the First Program for the Second Program to be written so as to interpret and execute such application programs using the same keywords and the same syntax?
4. Where the First Program reads from and writes to data files in a particular format devised by the author of the First Program, is Article 1(2) to be interpreted as meaning that it is not an infringement of the copyright in the First Program for the Second Program to be written so as to read from and write to data files in the same format?
5. Does it make any difference to the answer to questions 1, 2, 3 and 4 if the author of the Second Program created the Second Program without access to the source code of the First Program, either directly or via decompilation of the object code by:
(a) observing, studying and testing the functioning of the First Program; or
(b) reading a manual created and published by the author of the First Program which describes the functions of the First Program ("the Manual") and by implementing in the Second Program the functions described in the Manual; or
(c) both (a) and (b)?
6. Where a person has the right to use a copy of the First Program under a licence, is Article 5(3) to be interpreted
ingas meaning that the licensee is entitled, without the authorisation of the rightholder, to perform acts of loading, running and storing the program in order to observe, test or study the functioning of the First Program so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie any element of the program, if the licence permits the licensee to perform acts of loading, running and storing the First Program when using it for the particular purpose permitted by the licence, but the acts done in order to observe, study or test the First Program extend outside the scope of the purpose permitted by the licence and are therefore acts for which the licensee has no right to use the copy of the First Program under the licence?
7. Is Article 5(3) to be interpreted as meaning that acts of observing, testing or studying of the functioning of the First Program are to be regarded as being done in order to determine the ideas or principles which underlie any element of the First Program where they are done:
(a) to ascertain the way in which the First Program functions, in particular details which are not described in the Manual, for the purpose of writing the Second Program in the manner referred to in question 1 above;
(b) to ascertain how the First Program interprets and executes statements written in the programming language which it interprets and executes (see question 3 above);
(c) to ascertain the formats of data files which are written to or read by the First Program (see question 4 above);
(d) to compare the performance of the Second Program with the First Program for the purpose of investigating reasons why their performances differ and to improve the performance of the Second Program;
(e) to conduct parallel tests of the First Program and the Second Program in order to compare their outputs in the course of developing the Second Program, in particular by running the same test scripts through both the First Program and the Second Program;
(f) to ascertain the output of the log file generated by the First Program in order to produce a log file which is identical or similar in appearance;
(g) to cause the First Program to output data (in fact, data correlating zip codes to States of the USA) for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not it corresponds with official databases of such data, and if it does not so correspond, to program the Second Program so that it will respond in the same way as the First Program to the same input data.
B. On the interpretation of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society:
8. Where the Manual is protected by copyright as a literary work, is Article 2(a) to be interpreted as meaning that it is an infringement of the copyright in the Manual for the author of the Second Program to reproduce or substantially reproduce in the Second Program any or all of the following matters described in the Manual:
selection ofstatistical operations which have been described in the Manual as being implemented in the First Program;
(b) the mathematical formulae used in the Manual to describe those statistical operations;
(c) the particular commands or combinations of commands by which those statistical operations may be invoked;
(d) the options which the author of the First Program has provided in respect of various commands;
(e) the keywords and syntax recognised by the First Program;
(f) the defaults which the author of the First Program has chosen to implement in the event that a particular command or option is not specified by the user;
(g) the number of iterations which the First Program will perform in certain circumstances?
9. Is Article 2(a) to be interpreted as meaning that it is an infringement of the copyright in the Manual for the author of the Second Program to reproduce or substantially reproduce in a manual describing the Second Program the keywords and syntax recognised by the First Program?"
"39. We now turn to the third argument. CPR 3.1(7) gives a very general power to vary or revoke an order. Consideration was given to the circumstances in which that power might be used by Patten J in Lloyds Investment (Scandinavia) Limited v Christen Ager-Hanssen  EWHC 1740 (Ch). He said at paragraph 7:
'The Deputy Judge exercised a discretion under CPR Part 13.3. It is not open to me as a judge exercising a parallel jurisdiction in the same division of the High Court to entertain what would in effect be an appeal from that order. If the Defendant wished to challenge whether the order made by Mr Berry was disproportionate and wrong in principle, then he should have applied for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. I have been given no real reasons why this was not done. That course remains open to him even today, although he will have to persuade the Court of Appeal of the reasons why he should have what, on any view, is a very considerable extension of time. It seems to me that the only power available to me on this application is that contained in CPR Part 3.1(7), which enables the Court to vary or revoke an order. This is not confined to purely procedural orders and there is no real guidance in the White Book as to the possible limits of the jurisdiction. Although this is not intended to be an exhaustive definition of the circumstances in which the power under CPR Part 3.1(7) is exercisable, it seems to me that, for the High Court to revisit one of its earlier orders, the Applicant must either show some material change of circumstances or that the judge who made the earlier order was misled in some way, whether innocently or otherwise, as to the correct factual position before him. The latter type of case would include, for example, a case of material non-disclosure on an application for an injunction. If all that is sought is a reconsideration of the order on the basis of the same material, then that can only be done, in my judgment, in the context of an appeal. Similarly it is not, I think, open to a party to the earlier application to seek in effect to re-argue that application by relying on submissions and evidence which were available to him at the time of the earlier hearing, but which, for whatever reason, he or his legal representatives chose not to employ. It is therefore clear that I am not entitled to entertain this application on the basis of the Defendant's first main submission, that Mr Berry's order was in any event disproportionate and wrong in principle, although I am bound to say that I have some reservations as to whether he was right to impose a condition of this kind without in terms enquiring whether the Defendant had any realistic prospects of being able to comply with the condition.'
We endorse that approach. We agree that the power given by CPR 3.1(7) cannot be used simply as an equivalent to an appeal against an order with which the applicant is dissatisfied. The circumstances outlined by Patten J are the only ones in which the power to revoke or vary an order already made should be exercised under 3.1(7)."
"There is scant authority upon Rule 3.1(7) but such as exists is unanimous in holding that it cannot constitute a power in a judge to hear an appeal from himself in respect of a final order. Neuberger J said as much in Customs & Excise v Anchor Foods (No 3)  EWHC 834 (Ch). So did Patten J in Lloyds Investment (Scandinavia) Ltd v Ager-Hanssen  EWHC 1740 (Ch). His general approach was approved by this court, in the context of case management decisions, in Collier v Williams  EWCA Civ 20. I agree that in its terms the rule is not expressly confined to procedural orders. Like Patten J in Ager-Hanssen I would not attempt any exhaustive classification of the circumstances in which it may be proper to invoke it. I am however in no doubt that CPR 3.1(7) cannot bear the weight which Mr Grime's argument seeks to place upon it. If it could, it would come close to permitting any party to ask any judge to review his own decision and, in effect, to hear an appeal from himself, on the basis of some subsequent event. It would certainly permit any party to ask the judge to review his own decision when it is not suggested that he made any error. It may well be that, in the context of essentially case management decisions, the grounds for invoking the rule will generally fall into one or other of the two categories of (i) erroneous information at the time of the original order or (ii) subsequent event destroying the basis on which it was made. The exigencies of case management may well call for a variation in planning from time to time in the light of developments. There may possibly be examples of non-procedural but continuing orders which may call for revocation or variation as they continue – an interlocutory injunction may be one. But it does not follow that wherever one or other of the two assertions mentioned (erroneous information and subsequent event) can be made, then any party can return to the trial judge and ask him to re-open any decision….."
No sufficient justification