Ryanair sues website firm over alleged copying of flight details


A COMPANY which operates several websites offering search and booking facilities for low-cost flights is being sued by Ryanair over the alleged "screen-scraping" (copying and extracting) of information from Ryanair's website for use on its sites.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday admitted to the Commercial Court the proceedings by Ryanair Ltd against Bravofly Ltd, of Priory Hall, Stillorgan, Dublin.

Bravofly operates an internet searching and booking facility for low-fares flights as well as complementary services such as accommodation reservation and car hire. It operates several websites, including sites geared towards specific countries.

Ryanair has claimed the alleged "screen-scraping" activities of Bravofly breach provisions of the Trademarks Act and the Copyright and Related Rights Act, amount to "passing off" and also breach the conditions for accessing the Ryanair website.

It claims that Bravofly, without permission from Ryanair, has offered detailed information on Ryanair's flight services and had also used Ryanair's name and harp device logo in presenting that information.

It also claims that Bravofly has established and maintains hypertext links from its websites to the Ryanair website, without Ryanair's authorisation.

Ryanair claims it had written to Bravofly asking for undertakings that the screen-scraping activities would cease but no such undertakings had been received.

Ryanair is seeking court orders restraining the alleged activities and also wants damages, including exemplary damages, and/or an account of profits for alleged negligence and/or wrongful interference with Ryanair's economic interests and contractual relations.

The airline contends the matter is of real commercial significance as its website is at the heart of its marketing and sales strategy and some 98 per cent of its flight bookings are transacted via the website. Any action which wrongfully impinges on the effectiveness of the Ryanair website has an impact on sales and marketing activities and the attractiveness of the website as a platform for the advertising and sale of third-party goods and services, it says. It claims the activities of Bravofly are diverting potential business from Ryanair.