BESTPROF Inc. is an American company that promised a revolution in the world of sports. They claimed that they had the capacity to develop software for best profiling of sportspersons.
BESTPROF's methodology was to study a large number of games and sporting events, analyze its winners and then create a software system that would predict future sporting champions by analyzing sportsmen on the basis of BESTPROF's proprietary parameters of evaluation.
New Sports Private Limited is an Indian company that promotes unusual sporting events not popular in the country, for example, baseball or ice hockey. New Sports would identify sportsmen in traditional sports like cricket or soccer who had the requisite skills and train them for the new sport.
Since these sportsmen do not have a history of playing the new sport, it was getting difficult to evaluate them and identify the promising sportsmen of the future. New Sport finally approached BESTPROF to develop a software programme by which a sportsman's excellence say in cricket could be used to evaluate his worth in a new sport like baseball.
BESTPROF developed a programme based on their domain knowledge of the yardsticks of evaluating sportsmen while New Sports contributed domain knowledge of various sports, their rules, the method in which they are played, etc. and together a programme called 'Convert Value' was developed.
In its maiden application, Convert Value was used on a large number of sportsmen picked up from soccer and cricket and trained on baseball. Using the programme, the future worth of the sportsmen could be determined which as a logical corollary began to provide immense value to sponsors of sporting events.
Kashkhan, an erstwhile ace Ranji batsman suddenly became famous as a baseball player.
The programme, Convert Value predicted that he would be the most valuable Indian sportsman in the next two years.
Purple Zone, a sporting goods company entered into a two year contract with Kashkhan as its brand ambassador on the basis of the aforesaid ratings. Within three months Kashkhan performed badly in a key match and failed a drug test as a result of which Purple Zone got huge negative publicity.
Purple Zone sued both BESTPROF and New Sports Private Limited for damages of Rs. 2 crores for its actual losses, loss of profits, loss of goodwill and reputation and for the actual sum expended pursuant to the contract on Kashkhan. It affixed liability on both companies for their inaccurate projections of Kashkhan's sporting abilities and failing to account for the fact that Kashkhan had a previous record of drug abuse respectively.
BESTPROF claimed that the software's predictions of Kashkhan's future as a promising baseball player was on the basis of his current technique, style, skill sets and training and that the accuracy of the software cannot be faulted for an illegal act such as drug abuse, the responsibility for which must lie with the individual himself. It also argued that in any event, its responsibility only extended to evolving yardsticks for evaluation; the actual data as to the individual sportsmen and the games they played were provided by New Sports.
In its turn, New Sports claimed that it was not historical data that BESTPROF had asked them to forward, that they had been asked to collect specific data in the nature of surveys in specific templates that had been provided to them. None of these templates required the collection of information as to the past drug abuse of a sportsman and so they had no occasion to go and seek such information about the sportsmen that were being evaluated.
Both parties agreed that since the essential facts in the dispute were admitted and no evidence was required to be adduced by both parties, there would be no need for a trial and that the suit could be decided finally by the court.
The dispute was accordingly taken up for final hearing by the Delhi High Court.
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