Hotline Communications v Hinkley & ORS

Hotline Communications v Hinkley & ORS


Supreme Court of Victoria – 24 March 1999


Hinkley was the initial author of a computer program called Hotline. He came into contact with some Canadians and together they incorporated and became shareholders in Hotline Communications (“Hotline”). Hotline took over the development of the computer program.

The Canadian failed to provide promised finance to Hotline and Hinkley became disillusioned with Hotline. Hinkley therefore without warning to the other shareholders shut down the Hotline website, encrypted the source code for the computer program, told customers that Hotline was no longer in business, and returned to Australia.

Hotline issued an ex parte application and obtained an anton piller order against Hinkley and orders that Hinkley disclose the key to the encrypted computer program and copies of the computer program. An injunction was also obtained to prevent Hinkley from disclosing any confidential information about the computer program to any person other then Hotline.

Hotline went to Hinkley’s premises and obtained the computer programs on CD and also took Hinkley’s computer which contained the hard drive with computer programs.

Hinkley applied to set aside the anton piller order and the injunction and also applied for security of costs.


Should the injunction or anton piller order be set aside and should Hotline provide security for an undertaking to pay damages

if the anton piller order was found to have been improperly obtained after a trial of this proceeding?

Should the Court order that Hotline provide security for costs?


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