Cypriot factors come into play in Suite’s copyright lawsuit against Currenex

Maria Nikolova

One of the defendants – Frost & Fire, maintains that its place of business is in Cyprus, and that the service process did not comply with the Hague Convention.

cyprus

Frost & Fire Limited, a defendant in a copyright infringement case brought by financial analytic software firm Suite against Currenex and State Street, on Monday filed a motion to dismiss the action alleging that the service of process is flawed.

The case, captioned SUITE, LLC v. CURRENEX, INC. et al (1:17-cv-06920), takes place at the New York Southern District Court.

The case is based on events from September 2011, when Suite signed an agreement with State Street and Currenex providing the latter with a perpetual license of Suite’s ALib Analytic Library (ALib), analytical software used for pre-execution pricing, risk management and valuations on bonds, interest-rate swaps and related rates derivatives products, including options and credit derivatives. The license was limited to State Street’s and Currenex’s use and precluded resale or sharing with third parties.

Currenex and State Street allegedly distributed Suite’s copyrighted, confidential software and source-code to third parties (including an existing customer of Suite, “TradingScreen,” and a competitor of Suite, Frost) without the consent or authorization of Suite, thereby breaching the confidentiality provision and the restrictions stipulated in the contract.

In particular, Bleron Baraliu, an individual at Currenex and State Street who was involved in negotiating the agreement signed in September 2011, abruptly terminated the agreement one year after it was executed and then, shortly thereafter, left to run Frost, a competitor to Suite that he founded while working for State Street. Frost is alleged to have improperly used and distributed Suite’s copyrights and created derivative works from Suite’s copyrighted source-code and software for use in its competitive risk management business. Specifically, Frost distributed Suite’s copyrighted source-code and software (that was licensed to State Street) directly to TradingScreen.

Frost & Fire is now contesting the allegations. In the documents filed on November 20, 2017, the company notes that it is fundamental that a plaintiff satisfies the procedural requirements of service of process before a court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant. Frost & Fire Ltd. is a citizen of, and maintains its principal place of business in, the Republic of Cyprus—a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. No officer or director of the company resides, or is present, in the United States.

Given that Suite, LLC has not served Frost & Fire pursuant to the Hague Convention, its service is defective and should be quashed, the defendant argues. It adds that a copy of the summons and complaint was delivered to Bleron Baraliu on October 28, 2017 but that he had no authorisation to receive service of process on behalf of Frost & Fire Ltd. He is a director of Frost & Fire Ltd.’s parent entity, Frost & Fire Holding S.A.

Currenex and State Street have already replied to Suite’s allegations by stating that Suite is simply “unhappy with the deal it negotiated”, and that it is ignoring express contract terms.

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