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February 8, 1988

UCL GROUP PLC WINS $2.1m DAMAGES FROM DATAMEDIA OVER LATTER’s ICL DEAL

By CBR Staff Writer

The long-running legal battle over Datamedia Corp’s two-timing of its then UK distributor UCL Group Plc by signing a worldwide volume agreement with ICL after having granted UCL exclusive UK and Irish rights to its machines running the Pick operating system, is finally over, and UCL, London SE, comes out of it $2.06m to the good. That award, which includes punitive damages, was made in Federal District Court in New Jersey last September, and was appealed by Datamedia. However the three appeal court judges hearing Datamedia’s request for the ruling to be overturned in January, unanimously upheld the award, and Datamedia has now admitted defeat, and handed over the cash on February 2. UCL comes out $1.16m ahead after fees and expenses, and the gain in that sum will be added to its pre-tax profits for the current period. ICL will be relieved that the protracted legal battle, which has been running for about five years, is over: it markets the Datamedia machines as the low end of its Clan range of Unix systems, UK launch of which was held up by the legal battle. Although the machines have done well enough in continental and Pacific markets, the UK end has still not properly recovered from its stuttering start. ICL bought – and still holds – a stake of 16% or so in Datamedia Corp when it signed the worldwide volume agreement that was the cause of all the subsequent trouble.

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