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Media monitoring service Isentia loses court application against competitor Meltwater

Media monitoring service Isentia’s application for disclosure of documents from competitor Meltwater was denied on Friday afternoon by the Federal Court in Sydney. This follows on from legal proceedings earlier in the week.

While the restrictions agreed to by Meltwater’s representatives earlier in the week will remain in place, Isentia’s broader claims will be heard in court at a future date.

In a statement to Mumbrella late on Friday, Meltwater’s representatives said: “The outcome of today’s hearing is positive for Meltwater. It will be some time before the Court finally rules on the allegations, however, Meltwater intends to strenuously defend the matter.

“Meltwater would again like to reassure its clients that it will continue to service them fully as always and we look forward to clearing up misrepresentations that have been made in the media by presenting our facts in the case.”

This afternoon, Isentia’s spokesperson provided a comment to clarify the earlier reports on this story.

The orders for injunctions which prevent Meltwater’s ongoing “free- ride” on Isentia’s systems and supplied content, and to which Meltwater submitted, remain in place.

Therefore, Isentia was successful in its interlocutory application for those orders and in seeking an order that all evidence be preserved and not destroyed by Meltwater pending a final hearing of the claims.  Any suggestion by Meltwater to the contrary is deliberately misleading.

In the hearing on Friday 24 June, Justice Jagot ordered Meltwater to file a defence within 28 days and that the matter be relisted for directions after that time. Justice Jagot declined to make a further order which would require Meltwater to put on an affidavit detailing, amongst other things, all Isentia accounts used by Meltwater and material supplied to its clients.

Isentia had sought this information now as it would have assisted in Isentia’s understanding of the full extent of Meltwater’s conduct. Meltwater argued that this order would require Meltwater to file an affidavit “confessing to its alleged wrongdoing” and it was premature as this material would need to be produced through discovery in due course.

Her Honour decided against making the order on the understanding that Meltwater would not resist production of the information sought about Isentia’s accounts through discovery.  As the order for affidavits was not made, her Honour awarded the costs of that day’s short hearing (only) to Meltwater. 

To try to reframe this one ruling as an overall success in the interlocutory application is very misleading.  It is also incorrect for Meltwater to suggest that her Honour ordered Isentia to pay Meltwater’s costs in defending the injunction, an injunction to which Meltwater actually submitted.  Meltwater’s readiness to consent to the injunction speaks volumes. 

The fact remains that Meltwater is presently restrained by orders from misusing Isentia’s accounts to supply content to its own clients, and is also under orders from the Court to preserve all evidence of its wrongdoing.

Prior to the hearing, the third respondent, Ms Singh filed an affidavit explaining she had no knowledge of the Isentia account in her name, or of any activity on that account. Her husband, who identifies himself as the Managing Director of Meltwater News, did not file an affidavit explaining why a false account had been set up in his wife’s name or identify the person/s responsible for using this account for Meltwater’s clients.  On the basis that Ms Singh has given sworn evidence she was not involved, Isentia will consider discontinuing the claims against her.

Justice Jagot ordered Isentia to pay Meltwater’s costs in defending Friday’s application.

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