Flogas fails to get injunction preventing distributor allagedly soliciting customers

Liquid petroleum gas supplier Flogas Ireland has failed to get a High Court injunction preventing a distributor allegedly soliciting its customers.

However, Mr Justice David Keane granted Flogas an injunction preventing North West Gas Co Ltd infringing the plaintiff’s copyright in the Flogas standard industrial gas supply agreement.

Flogas, based in Drogheda, Co Louth, and its Co Down-based parent DCC, sought the injunctions against North West Gas Co Ltd, of Carndonagh, Co Donegal.

Previous proceedings by North West against Flogas and DCC alleging the exclusive distribution agreement with North West could only be terminated with 42 months notice, not 12 months as had been given, were settled last June.

The terms of that agreement included that any contractual relationship between the parties, or any company connected with them, would terminate in June next year.

From that date, the parties would be free to compete in all markets and both agreed not to make any derogatory or disparaging statements about each other or to customers.

Last month, Flogas and DCC sought injunctions preventing North West from, among other things, soliciting any of their customers, interfering with contractual relationships with customers, and suggesting to anyone that Flogas and DCC intended to cease doing business in Donegal. It was also claimed there was a breach of the June settlement agreement and/or the underlying contractual relationship.

North West opposed that application but undertook not to suggest Flogas and DCC had ceased business in Donegal.

On Friday, Mr Justice Keane refused the injunction.

He found, among other things, Flogas and DCC had failed to satisfy him they have a strong arguable case on claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful interference with their contractual relations.

He was satisfied both companies had established a strong arguable case of copyright infringement.

He held damages would not be an adequate remedy for either party and the balance of convenience/justice lay against granting the injunction except in relation to the copyright issue.

A hearing date for the full trial of the action will be fixed later.


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