BELIZE CITY, Mon. Mar. 30, 2015 –Curtis Swasey and his attorney, Kareem Musa, were in court today for a hearing to address the intellectual property rights violation claim Swasey filed last month in the Supreme Court of Justice Courtenay Abel, against Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and the Mek Mi Rich game show.
Late this evening, the claim went into case management.
Swasey is claiming that the type of gambling that takes place on the game show – lottery texting that phone users can participate in by using their credit balances —was an idea that he came up with and pitched to BTL, and that his intellectual property rights were violated when BTL allegedly passed on the concept to Mek Mi Rich.
Swasey claims that for two years, he worked along with BTL technicians to develop the mechanisms by means of which the lottery texting would be carried out via their Digicell service, but the company then terminated the business relations they had with him abruptly. Some weeks after he and BTL parted ways, the Mek Mi Rich game show came on stream.
Alleging that it was his idea and that he was never compensated or consulted before his concepts, and the mechanisms he helped developed, were used, Swasey filed his claim against BTL and MMR Belize Productions, which is the parent company of Mek Mi Rich, at the Supreme Court.
Musa told reporters after the hearing that it was held in the judge’s chamber and the arguments were presented by attorney Wayne Piper of the Musa and Balderamos law firm, who specializes in intellectual property rights law.
“Today was set for the case management conference before the Honorable Justice Courtney Abel, but before we got into the actual management of the case, there was an application made by the second defendant, which is MMR, for further disclosure,” he said.
He further explained, “There was a request for further information under a particular rule of the Supreme Court civil procedure rules. That application is what took up the most part of this afternoon. It was heard. It was argued. And in the end, the learned Judge agreed with us that it was somewhat of a premature application because we are only at the stage of pleadings. So, we have filed our statement of claim. We have amended it and now it is up to the second defendants to file their defense.”
MMR’s attorney, Naima Barrow, stated: “MMR made an application to the court to compel Mr. Swasey to provide more information about his claim. He has made allegations that MMR has used concepts and flowcharts and information belonging to him and because those terms are so broad, what MMR wanted was particularly, ‘what is it that you are claiming that has been used?’ The thinking of MMR is that the quicker you provide that information, the quicker we can show where ours came from.”
“Our application was resisted by Mr. Swasey, who has asked that he be allowed disclosure and witness statements and all the other orders to come. So, that’s how MMR feels … we are being kept in suspense as to exactly what the allegation is. But the court has assisted by while not granting the application, confining his case to one issue, which is that the concept of buying lottery by text had to have been his and it’s a hard one to prove, because we all know it’s not something original to Belize,” she further detailed.
Barrow said, “The court struck out the first claim, but allowed them time to amend their claim — to fix the defects in the original claim that was brought. There is a 6-year limitation. So, even if it was struck out, they could have gone and recommenced another claim. To save the court’s resources they permitted them to amend that claim, which they did do, and that was what was filed and served.”
BTL is being represented by attorney Magali Perdomo, who declined to give an interview to reporters.