Boulevard DesignAshley Wilde Group has successfully forced Irish company Primark into a settlement of Ashley Wilde’s High Court action for infringement of its well known and highly successful Boulevard design.

In October 2008 Primark launched, in its Penneys stores in Ireland, a range of products bearing a copy of the Boulevard design. Ashley Wilde issued High Court proceedings in Dublin seeking an injunction to restrain sale, damages and costs. Primark agreed to withdraw its products from sale and made a payment into Court as an offer to settle the damages claim of approximately 100,000 euros, which sum was accepted by Ashley Wilde. The proceedings were compromised on the basis that Primark gave undertakings to the Court not to manufacture, import or sell products reproducing the Boulevard design, to disclose to Ashley Wilde the volume of its sales and to destroy any residual stock. As well as paying damages, Primark is also obliged to pay Ashley Wilde’s legal costs.

Managing Director of Ashley Wilde, Mr Ashley Brodin said: “We are very pleased with the outcome of this case, which demonstrates that Ashley Wilde will always take strong action to protect the integrity of its designs, whatever the financial position of the infringer. Ashley Wilde invests heavily in its design studio to enable it to produce high quality, commercially successful products. The practice of taking a short cut to market share by copying successful designs needs to be stamped out and Ashley Wilde will remain at the forefront of protecting the integrity of its products”.

Tony Catterall of Taylors Solicitors said: “It is pleasing that this claim was brought to an early and successful conclusion for Ashley Wilde. The issue of plagiarism in the home furnishings industry is an increasing problem heightened by the economic recession. Reputable design houses and converters need to follow Ashley Wilde’s example and stand up to infringers rather tha turn a blind eye. Those who copy successful designs need to be exposed and made to suffer the financial consequences of their unlawful conduct. In winning this action, Ashley Wilde has struck a blow for all design-led companies in the jome furnishings trade”.

Dids Macdonald comments: “I am pleased that Ashley Wilde has confirmed their strong and robust IP strategy on design protection which will now be publicised widely to those within this sector who appear to seek the fast track to market”.

For more of Ashley Wilde Group designs visit the website

PuffinAnti Copying in Design member Archipelago creates top quality design-led unique wood crafted products within the Giftware sector.  Whilst attending Autumn Fair (an ACID Accredited Exhibition) last year they discovered that one of their competitors, Quay Traders, were marketing and selling what appeared to be Archipelago lookalikes.

Following an assessment by Kelly Hudson of ACID Accredited law firm, McDaniel & Co,  it was discovered that a number of Archipelago’s most popular products had, in fact, been infringed by Quay Traders. Following the Fair, a Cease and Desist letter was sent alleging copyright infringement in the artistic works as all the products were designed by Archipelago and hand carved. Said Kelly, “We established that copyright subsisted in the works as artistic works and the subsequent letter put Quay Traders on notice of the infringement and requested various undertakings. This was a clear indication of the action Archipelago would be willing to take to protect their brand.”

Quay Traders solicitors responded denying the alleged infringement but later, through a subsequent letter, Quay Traders agreed to discontinue all products referred to in the cease and desist letter and to no longer import or sell these products. Undertakings followed, confirming Quay Traders commitment.

Two small birdsNiall Head-Rapson of McDaniel & Co commented, “Archipelago were determined to protect their market share and take whatever action was required to do so. This reinforces the effectiveness of a cease and desist letter and confirmed Archipelago’s decisive action following the discovery of the infringement at the Fair, an essential element in an effective IP protection strategy.”

Dids Macdonald. ACID’s CEO said of the settlement, “ACID works proactively within the Giftware sector and is determined to continue to raise awareness about the important role which intellectual property ownership plays for the key players in this industry.”

Dids Macdonald in liveryAt a recent ceremony ACID’s CEO Dids Macdonald was admitted as a Liveryman to The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers. The Company was founded as a guild in 1951 and granted Livery status in 1963, becoming the 83rd Livery Company of the City of London and only the sixth to be formed since the reign of Queen Anne ended in 1714.

It aims to support the highest standards of design, manufacturing, marketing and retailing of every type of furniture throughout the United Kingdom. It achieves these aims through a variety of means, such as: promoting the training courses on offer, support of student financial awards and prizes, leading joint initiatives with industry-associated trade bodies, and the award of its own highly prized Guild Marks.  The Marks recognise excellence in three categories; Bespoke – for the finest commissions of craftsman made furniture, Manufacturing – for the highest standards of production process in furniture manufacturing companies, and Design recently introduced for designers of manufactured furniture.

On being admitted Dids said, “I consider it an honour to have been invited to become a Liveryman and hope to contribute to the Worshipful Company’s excellent work by serving on the Guild Marks Committee which I will join in May 2011. I also hope to maximize any opportunities within the Company to continue to raise awareness about the value of intellectual property within the sector.

Membership of the Company as a Liveryman or Freeman is restricted to men and women employed or having been employed in the furniture industry. Thus individuals are able to contribute to the industry and its work outside of their employed function, and even after formal retirement.

BFC logoACID (Anti Copying in Design), the organisation committed to protecting intellectual property rights, is joining forces with the furniture’s industry’s political lobbying group, the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) as an associate member.

Martin Jourdan, chairman of the BFC said: “We are delighted to welcome ACID as an associate member of the BFC.  Encouraging good design and protecting intellectual property rights are key elements of our five year Strategy Plan and close links with ACID will mean that we can double our knowledge and effectiveness in this area.”

The BFC Strategy Plan states the group’s commitment to supporting improvements in UK design rights legislation and IP protection; improving global design rights protection; ensuring that government and its agencies do not fall into the trap of purchasing design copies from less scrupulous suppliers; and promoting UK design both at home and overseas.

ACID’s CEO Dids Macdonald said: “ACID has always enjoyed very strong ties with all sectors associated with the British furniture industry. I see this as an excellent opportunity to raise further awareness about the key role which intellectual property plays in contributing to growth in the UK economy. Having the BFC’s support is timely, coinciding with the current Hargreaves 1 review of intellectual property commissioned by David Cameron, and will strengthen the arguments for improving design law”.

The BFC was set up by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers (WCFM) to bring together furniture industry trade associations and membership bodies – including the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA), the National Bed Federation (NBF), the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF), the Interiors Designers Association (IDA)  and the industry training agency, Proskills – with the principle aim of engaging with government at all levels regarding matters of concern within the furniture, bed and furnishing industry. The BFC employs the services of political consultants Politics Direct to advise it on government activity, facilitate lobbying and to provide the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group, chaired by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland.

More than 1,000 companies, including many furniture manufacturers and designers, are members of ACID, which is committed to raising awareness and encouraging respect for intellectual property. The ACID logo is recognised as a strong symbol of deterrence. ACID accredited law firms have recovered over £3million in costs and damages in nearly 450 settlements for members and managed over 2,000 mediations, less than 30% of which have required further legal intervention.

Visit the British Furniture Confederation website

Anti CopFurnishing Industry Trust logoying in Design (ACID) is showing its support of the industries it serves by announcing The Furnishing Industry Trust (FIT) as one of it’s the three charities of the year.

The membership organisation, ACID – committed to raising awareness and encouraging respect for intellectual property within corporate social responsibility – has made a donation of £500 and will actively promote the charity on its website.

Said FIT chief executive, Charles Kerrigan: “We’re honoured that ACID has chosen FIT as one of its charities to support this year. We constantly look for ways in which we can promote the charity and the work it does and the support of industry peers is essential to that.”

FIT is the only dedicated charity helping those who work, or have worked, in the furnishing industry, who find themselves facing financial hardship.

Said Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO, “I am delighted to support FIT because I believe it is critical that we support those from within the industry who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances and who have given so much to make the industry what it is today.”

Visit the Furnishing Industry Trust website

Nomad Lightweight Wheelchair

Nomad Lightweight Wheelchair

Nomad Wheelchairs continues to receive praise for their designs and two recent events may be the most exciting to date…

Nomad’s One Arm Drive product has been shortlisted for another prestigious design award. Brit Insurance have put Nomad up for a Design of the Year award, competing with the likes of Apple and Dyson! The awards and an exhibition is being held at the Design Museum in London, from 16th Febuary, where Nomad’s One Arm Drive will be on display alongside some all-time design classics. For more information, please visit the Brit Insurance Design Awards page or visit the nomad website

Cuddledry logoACID Member Cuddledry has been nominated for Best Nursery Brand in the Tommy’s awards this year up against the likes of Avent, Mothercare etc. Polly Marsh of Cuddledry says,  “We would massively appreciate your help in this so we need to really shout about it – like mad, non stop, until voting closes on 21 Feb. Please can you send this link to all your friends, family, work contacts, anyone you know who would take the time to vote for us, If you vote you do get entered into a competition to win a holiday too.”

Visit the Tommy Awards website

Oobicco ACID Member Totseat Ltd, has launched its latest product, Oobicoo – the soft toy tot.  The adorable, cuddly Oobicoo is designed to be dressed in hand-me-down-baby clothes and is the same size as a six-month-old baby.  This simple idea encourages the child, and their family, to recycle outgrown baby clothes, and enables the parent to provide an instant wardrobe from old clothes, with no cost, to stimulate imaginative play.

Adding to its appeal, Oobicoo can be a girl, or a boy, coming with two, interchangeable hair pieces, creating double-the-fun for girls and an ideal team-mate for boys.  Much to Totseat’s excitement, Oobicoo was selected for inclusion in Nürnberg Toy Fair’s ‘Toys Go Green’ Special Exhibition, and shortlisted for the UK’s Gift of the Year 2011.

Oobicoo is made from gorgeous soft plush and, at 60cm tall, is the perfect size to be an instant baby brother, sister or best friend.  Weighing 875g, and able to sit unaided, Oobicoo is easily dressed and carried by toddlers as well as older children.

Manufactured from recycled and recyclable materials, Oobicoo is raising money, with every sale, for the Children’s Immunology Fund.

In pink or blue, it’s love, from Oobicoo.

For more information visit the Totseat website

A recent opinion of the Advocate General could cause chaos for Intellectual Property Rights holders.  The case surrounds a huge industry; the Premier League.  The Premier League licenses its television rights and does it on a Country by Country basis.  The biggest market is currently the UK market which has broadcasts by Sky and ESPN.  However other Country broadcasters are licensed to show Premier League fixtures on their television channels.  These non British channels satellite broadcast can be picked up in the UK.  Because of the prices charged by Sky particularly public houses and social clubs which were struggling for revenue acquired a Decoder card for a non UK satellite channel.  A lady called Karen Murphy was prosecuted for showing a Greek satellite channel in her public house in Southampton.  Her case has been referred to the European Court for a guidance as to whether the showing of the Greek channel in the UK infringed, amongst other things, copyright.

In the European Court of Justice the process begins with the Advocate General giving an opinion.  This opinion is not binding on the Court but is more often than not followed.  Today the Advocate General has given an opinion.  In that opinion the Advocate General has said “the exclusivity agreement relating to transmission for football matches are contrary to European Law” he went on “exclusivity rights in question have the effect of partitioning the internal market into quite separate national markets, something which constitutes a serious impairment of the freedom to provide services.”

If this opinion is followed it will have certain repercussions for those people who have intellectual property rights and sell them on a territory by territory basis.  At the moment there is no decision as yet but it may well be that a major rethink by intellectual property owners will be needed if they are to properly licence their markets.

Read the IPKat’s opinion on the decision here