YPC Weekly Newsletter

2002


“GOLOS ARMENII” AND “YERKIR” CHALLENGED THE DECISION OF THE RA COMMERCIAL COURT

On March 19 the National Press Club hosted the meeting of journalists with the Chief Editor of “Golos Armenii” newspaper Flora Nakhshkarian, the representative of the editorial board of “Yerkir” weekly Hamlet Davtian, the Director of “Noyan Tapan” news agency Tigran Haroutyunian and the author of the Armenian unlicensed computer fonts “Artarumian” Ruben Hakobian. The meeting participants discussed the situation around the decision on the case of HSBC-Armenia versus the newspapers mentioned above.

On March 4 the RA Commercial Court satisfied the suit of HSBC-Armenia bank and required “Golos Armenii“ and “Yerkir” to refute the information disseminated on October 29, 2001 by “Noyan Tapan” news agency and published by them the next day (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 2-8, 2002). According to “Noyan Tapan” piece, Ruben Hakobian, the author of the fonts, filed a suit against HSBC-Armenia and demanded a compensation of $10,000. Ruben Hakobian justified the accusation of computer piracy, in particular, by the bank’s use of his fonts in its advertising production (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 9-15, 2002).

At the meeting with journalists Ruben Hakobian informed that the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan refused his suit. According to him, the defense of Haik Haroutiunian (the attorney of HSBC-Armenia, who was protecting the interests of the bank in the case against “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” as well) was built on the argument that the advertising production was made not by the bank but by another organization. Yet, the respondent failed to submit the documents confirming this outsourcing order.

However, this circumstance did not stop the judge. The decision made was in favor of HSBC-Armenia bank. Haik Haroutiunian was able to convince the judge that the bank had not violated the copyright, even though he had not substantiated the existence of this another producing organization. And the same Haik Haroutiunian managed to make the newspapers look guilty, despite the strong proofs that “Noyan Tapan” is a mass medium. 

The bank is most probably very proud of its successful attorney who happens to be the brother of the RA Justice Minister. Yet, it is highly unlikely that the case in “how wrong one medium is when it does not re-check the information disseminated by the other one” will become the source of pride for the Armenian jurisprudence. The Chamber on Civil and Commercial Cases of the RA Court of Cassation where the heads of the newspapers have challenged the decision by the RA Commercial Court still has a chance to save the reputation of the Armenian judicial.