In the first action, despite denying design infringement, Dean Fairhurst of DF Furniture Ltd has settled an alleged intellectual property dispute prior to going to court and paid legal costs to bespoke kitchen company and ACID members Chiselwood Ltd and has issued the following apology:
“Dean Fairhurst of D F Furniture Ltd used drawings created by Chiselwood Ltd (without permission) to build a kitchen to a specification set out in the drawings. D F Furniture admits that it then used photographs of this kitchen in promotional material in its brochures and on its website. All such images have now been removed. D F Furniture Ltd apologises to Chiselwood Ltd for the use of its drawings and undertakes not to use the photographs, or the drawings, in any capacity whatsoever at any time in the future.”
Dids Macdonald, Chief Executive of ACID said, “Increasingly companies are taking action against this type of unauthorised use of kitchen design drawings and specifications and Chiselwood are sending a crystal clear message within the UK kitchen industry that they will take any potential infringement of their designs seriously”.
Macdonald, recently seen on BBC’s CrimeWatch discussing the serious issues of design and copyright infringement, continued by saying, “Following a recent precedent design law judgment, designers like Chiselwood who win awards and media accolades, will now have a much stronger case as judges will now consider these in determining whether designs are “novel” and have “distinctive” character â€“ a key factor in determining design rights”.
Chiselwood were awarded the title National Kitchen Designer in 2005 and received the KBSAâ€™s prestigious National Design Innovation Award in 2006. Managing Director, Mel Holliday, discovered the alleged infringement of their work on reading a national kitchen magazine in May 2007 and immediately recognised the design of a featured kitchen as one that Design Director, Martin Holliday, had originally produced for a client in 2006.
A former Director of DF Furniture Limited had visited Chiselwoodâ€™s Lincoln showroom twice in 2006, posed as a potential client and then returned for a presentation of the original drawings which he then took away with him. This individual was then featured as the proud owner of the new kitchen in the national magazine article in 2007.
“Design creativity and the highest quality of product and service are central to the ethos and success of Chiselwood. Significant investment is made each year in the creation and marketing of new designs and we will always protect our hard work,” commented Chiselwood Founder and Design Director, Martin Holliday.
The second action concerned the unauthorised use of photographs of Martin Holidayâ€™s 2005 National Kitchen Designer Award winning kitchen created for Chapel Kitchen. As a result of the award the Chapel kitchen was photographed by a Mr Darren Chung on behalf of a the award organiser. Unbeknown to Martin, Mr Chung submitted the photographs to a photo library which made the images available for sale.
Whilst Chiselwood did not know of this activity they were extremely surprised to see the 2008 Brochure and website www.thedoormaker.com and a picture of the Chapel kitchen taking centre stage. The pictures were used to sell a range of doors but no mention was made in any of the literature of the fact that this was not their kitchen. Chiselwood had an excellent case in passing off. Niall Head Rapson of ACID Accredited Law Firm, McDaniel & Co said, “This is a classic example of a speedy result following a letter before claim â€“ the offending photographs were removed and the brochure is being reprinted, I donâ€™t think this will happen again!”