Greetings Card and stationery designers and Publishers Caroline Gardner recently discovered that online retailer and wholesaler Bombay Duck were using one of their designs without permission – a union flag gift wrap – as a back drop in promotional material. Despite denying that the incorporation of the design constituted an act of copyright infringement, they agreed to enter undertakings not to infringe in future, removed the offending design from their web site and Christmas catalogue, and paid £3000 in respect of costs and damages. ACID Accredited lawyers McDaniel & Co acted on behalf of Caroline Gardner.
Caroline Gardner Publishing, one of ACID’s long-term members has always had a robust policy regarding copyright protection. Caroline is one of the most respected independent greeting card and stationery designers in the UK, having trained initially as a painter, then moved on to card design following a successful Tokyo gallery commission.
Following the settlement, Angus Gardner said, “Originality and innovation are the key components which have made the Caroline Gardner brand so instantly recognizable and sought after. I would argue that original design is one of the last true ‘engine-rooms’ of British industry where we still lead the world, and anything which undermines or compromises this is immoral. As a policy we always send our new designs to the ACID Design Data Bank to add ballast to the design audit trail and will always pursue any unauthorized use of our intellectual property. This particular design was very important for us to protect, because it has been licensed to Blueprint Collections who are currently putting together a large range of gift stationery based on the design, which will be ready for the Autumn”.
Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “Increasingly, because greetings card designers are constantly innovating, we are seeing a big surge in the use of the ACID Design Data Bank with many new applications from within this sector. This now holds over 300,000 copies of members’ designs. Combined strength within the sector, supported by the ACID brand, means a stronger voice against copying”.