ACID’s frequently asked “IP myths and howlers”….or frequently asked WRONG questions!

How do I register my copyright?

You can’t because in the UK copyright arises automatically upon the creation of a work in a tangible form (e.g. a design drawing); there is no requirement for registration. However, in the USA you can register a copyright.

Where can I patent my design?

You can’t unless you have created a new and inventive product or process. The relevant form of protection for most designs is UK design right which protects the shape and configuration of the design and unregistered Community design right which protects the shape, contours, lines, colours, texture and ornamentation of a design. Design rights arise automatically but, for stronger protection, a Registered UK or Community design can be obtained for a payment of a fee.

Visit the IPO Website

Visit the OHIM Website

If someone makes seven changes or a certain percentage change to a design it becomes a new design!

WrongI It is not the number or percentage of changes that somebody makes to your design but the importance of the elements which they have taken from your design which is important in deciding whether they have infringed your rights in your design.  This will always vary from case to case.

Registering designs is useless because if you make one slight percentage change in the design the registration is invalid

Wrong, because the test for whether a design infringes a registered design is whether it creates the same overall impression as the registered design on the informed user.  It is not simply about counting the number of elements of the design which have been reproduced or changes which have been made to it.

I want to register my design to protect the way it works

You can’t because you would have to apply for a patent rather than a design registration. However, to obtain a patent you would have to demonstrate that the way that your design works is novel and inventive.

I have protected the name of my business because I have registered the name at Company’s house

You haven’t because a registered company name does not give you rights in the name which you can enforce against third parties – for this you need a registered trade mark.

My freelance designer doesn’t have any claim to the rights in my design!

They might because if they produce a design for you, you will only own any UK unregistered design right  which might subsist in the design. There may be other IP rights in the design which you do not own, such as copyright and unregistered Community design right. If you want to own all the intellectual property rights, the best plan is to ask the freelance designer to assign these to you in a written agreement, preferably before they do any work.

If I do not include the ©2009 (name) notice on my work I will not benefit from copyright protection

Not true! In the UK copyright arises automatically when you record your original work in a tangible form. However, it is wise to include such a notice because it notifies others that you are claiming copyright in your work.

If I register a copy of the design before the originator I own the design

You don’t necessarily because whilst you will technically be the owner of the registration, the originator would be able to seek a declaration of invalidity of your registration.

I applied for a registration for my design because I own the company

Wrong! because if you created the design in the course of your employment, even with your own company, the company alone has the right to register the design. The registration will therefore be invalid.

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.”

No 10 logoFollowing ACID’s  (Anti Copying in Design)  petition to introduce criminal sanctions for design right infringement The Government  has responded by saying the current civil-based provisions provide a suitable IPR framework  despite the fact that copyright infringement (which requires no substantive examination) attracts criminal sanctions.  This gives rise to anomalies and inequality of treatment which are very damaging to hundreds of small businesses and designers across the UK and restricts the level of legal protection and support they can expect to receive.

Class 99, the website for design law, in Europe and worldwide and written by a team of design experts and fans has commented on ACID’s press release:

On Friday Class 99 reported on the UK government’s unenthusiastic response to the proposal, backed by ACID’s petition, to introduce criminal sanctions for design right infringement.  According to the government, the current civil-based provisions provide a suitable IPR framework — even though copyright infringement (which requires no substantive examination) attracts criminal sanctions. As ACID points out, this gives rise to anomalies and inequality of treatment which, the organisation states, “are very damaging to hundreds of small businesses and designers across the UK and restrict the level of legal protection and support they can expect to receive”.  A press release in response to the government’s reiteration of its current position reads as follows:

“Dids Macdonald [ACID CEO], commenting on the Governments’ response and, in particular, the statement that unlike trade mark and copyright disputes, design right can often be inadvertent said, “In my 20 years personal experience as a designer and latterly as CEO of a 1,000+ member organisation (the majority of whom have joined because of design infringement threats), copying is generally deliberate and blatant rather than inadvertent [If it were not, one might expect commercially unsuccessful and unpopular designs to be copied as frequently as successful ones]. I would be interested to learn more about the Government’s evidence to support their statement [the UK government has committed itself to "evidence-based" IP policy formulation -- though one suspects that this only applies to proposals to change the law, not proposals to leave it as it is ...]. However, I am encouraged to continue the debate via the recently announced review of the UK’s IP and by the Government’s commitment to explore any (and all) suggestions for improving the designs framework for the benefit of the UK design industry.”

Nick Kounoupias, ACID LOBBY’s legal counsel and an expert in IP infringement said, “We are only suggesting that design rights should be criminalised where there is actual knowledge like copyright. There is no obvious reason for the disparity of protection. This may have been overlooked during the frenzied last minute lobbying and amendments made to the [Copyright Patents and Designs Act] CDPA in 1988 as it was passing through Parliament. Design right protection was a relatively late innovation in 1988 and at the time it was probably felt that it was a step too far to extend to design right the new improved protection introduced for copyright in 1988. Certainly no rational basis for the inequality has been advanced by Government.” [Nor has it been suggested that, since deliberate design infringement is not criminal; corresponding types of copyright infringement should be decriminalised too]

The simple legal solution would be to introduce into the CDPA two new Sections to mirror S.107(1) and 110 … The wording would be almost identical to Sections 107(1) and 110 and would be designed to criminalise the infringement of the design right subsisting in 3D designs. This can be done very simply by replacing the word “copyright” every time it appears in Sections 107(1) and 110 with the words “design right” and the words “copyright work” with the word “design.” It would then be necessary to make consequential amendments to mirror Sections 107 (4), 107 (5) 107A, 108 and 109 CDPA. As with copyright infringement this would criminalise blatant and deliberate copying but not copying inadvertently.

The Alliance Against IP Theft representing 20 organisations (of which ACID is a member) has recognised the need to ensure legal parity across IP rights as a key campaigning principle with a need to address the inconsistency in protection for design rights agreed as a specific objective. …

In 2008 there were only 2,798 designs registered in the UK and in 2009 2,111. Most of the UK’s 250,000 designers would appear to rely on unregistered rights. This is contrary to the Government statement that IP, including design rights, should serve to stimulate an environment in which new design ideas can flourish, whilst also providing a robust means of protection for existing design rights. ACID receives approximately 30,000 designs per year to its Design Data Bank for unregistered designs”.

The government’s reluctance to remove the anomaly may have, at base, a fear that if deliberate trade mark, copyright and design infringements were all criminalised, the controversial proposal to criminalise patent infringement might again be raised.

Jo PotburyA Letter Before Action (LBA) or Cease and Desist

What are they?

A Letter Before Action (LBA), sometimes known as a “Cease and Desist”,  is quite simply a letter drafted by a qualified solicitor informing a prospective defendant that unless they settle, you intend to start legal action. In the case of intellectual property (IP) rights infringement an LBA usually sets out why you believe your rights have been infringed together with evidence of your rights ownership.

How effective are they?

Out of ACID’s 400+ settlements by its accredited lawyers on behalf of members, only 4 have reached a final Court hearing and of those, many have settled satisfactorily following an effective LBA and/or a short series of legal correspondence. To the recipient it can be perceived as an official “shot across the bows” or “last chance” before more serious letters follow, which may lead to the claim being heard in Court.

Why does the cost sometimes vary and may seem high?

Generally, the rationale for a letter before action varying in costs is that, basically, some are simple and straight forward and some are much more complicated. In ACID’s experience of many legal actions, the more effective an LBA is, the better the chances are for the least amount of protracted legal response.

Another good reason for an effective LBA (which takes time to prepare) is that there should be little scope for a lawyer on the other side to challenge any points of ownership. There are also many other variables which affect the time spent i.e. gathering comprehensive information (and evidence of rights ownership) in order to prepare an effective LBA. This can be easy or complicated, often depending on the efficiency of the ACID member in giving him/her all the relevant facts and evidence of design ownership and clarity of title. As we know too,  IP law is not straight forward and it may be necessary to look through case studies and precedents to clarify the legal position. It may also be necessary to seek a second legal opinion. Why? Because compared to other rights, there is little case history under unregistered and registered design right. This all takes time.

The amount of time taken to prepare an LBA can also vary if. For example,  a lawyer has to follow up an ACID member for more information which is not forthcoming. Most lawyers charge in 6 minute slots so it is important to ensure that your lawyer has all the relevant facts so that he/she can form a legal opinion! Typically, it is not unreasonable for a lawyer to spend anything from 2 – 5/6 hours on an LBA depending on the complexity of the issue.  Another variable may be the time it takes establishing clarity of rights’ ownership – say in a license arrangement or collaborative design etc.

Watchpoints

If you discover a copy always  be prepared and save expensive legal time by having all the following in place ( the ACID Infringement Purchase Information Sheet is a fast track checklist to ensure that you have collected all the relevant information together):

1.    Archived drawings and documents ready to prove the history of your designs

2.    If you are at an exhibition always ensure that you have evidence of your design ownership with you or have easy access to this evidence

3.    A complete set of legal documents, including contracts of employment with designers, written agreements with freelance designers, suppliers, manufacturers and customers, confirming that you own all the rights in your designs

4.    If your designs or trade marks are registered at the UK Intellectual Property Office or at OHIM (The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market), retain and archive all these valuable certificates

Many designers do not realise that intellectual property (IP) law is based on property law. When  buying a house, most people will spend several hundred pounds on employing a solicitor to check that the house is free from any unforeseen nightmares such as the seller not actually being the original owner of the property; there is a sitting tenant; there is a public footpath running through the garden; or the land has be designated for nuclear waste. It is the same in IP law, so:

If there are any documents, which are required to PROVE the ownership of your designs, these will need to be drafted and signed before an action can commence. This is when it can be costly, however, never forget that it is never wasted money, it will cover you for the future.

When lawyers ask you to PROVE YOUR CASE you are being asked to ‘prove your case’ to the Court and the other side – it is your lawyer’s job to make sure that the rights are in place at the start so that the strength of your case is not damaged.

Joanna Potbury from DHM Stallard stresses the importance of getting the letter of claim spot on in terms of setting out the claim accurately; not leaving and gaps, and also setting the right tone.  “A good letter of claim can set the scene for much of the pre-action stage and can put you in control of the debate from the off.  If there are any weaknesses or gaps, they will be exploited by the opponent, which inevitably gives the potential defendant a psychological boost, it is our job as effective lawyers to get this right.”

Dids MacdonaldWhy should designers register their designs? There is little commercial value in shouting that you’ve got a good idea, or the latest new design “gismo”, but if you have numbered design registration, stating that you effectively own the design, then you have a tangible, tradable IP asset. Registration details included on marketing literature and websites may also act as a strong deterrent against copying. If a designer is unlucky enough to be copied, but has a registered Community design (RCD), it is much more cost and time effective for an IP lawyer to write a powerful letter before action which will be more difficult to legally challenge. Investors, too, are more likely to be persuaded if they can see tangible evidence of tradable IP assets. Another key benefit of an RCD is that, for a small sum, publication (public disclosure) can be delayed (in the UK by 12 months and in the EU by 30 months) so that competitors cannot see a new design/design range before its official launch. This gives originators a clear and fair lead in the marketplace plus the added protection assurance of an RCD.

Is RCD cost an issue? How can unregistered rights be used effectively to decide on registration?

Many micro enterprises and SME’s find that registration is still too expensive. ACID’s advice in most cases is to always try to register new designs. However, if cost is an issue, there is a useful option of a year’s grace period to register allowed by OHIM. Designers can therefore, rely on unregistered rights to test the market during this period and then invest in the registration of any products identified as clear market leaders. However, there is a down side. Those who seek the fast track to market through IP infringement may seize on a new design and register it themselves. This can lead to a messy legal debacle to prove clarity of ownership, especially if an alleged infringer’s registration in another country.

Are designers generally aware of the benefits of design registration?

Design is everywhere; everything we use has gone through some sort of design process in its creation to a greater or lesser degree. Yet despite designers having access to the relatively new registered Community design (RCD) (introduced in 2003) there has been a slow uptake of registrations. The Office for Harmonization (OHIM) up until this year held only 400,000 registrations. So across 27 member states, over 7 years, this represents an approximate annual average of 2116 design registrations per country. To put this into perspective, in the UK, for example, there are 232,000 designers. The good news is that EU design registrations are finally picking up and increasing by 80,000 per year (or an average of an additional 2962 per year, per country).

Does this mean that the RCD benefits are being more widely publicised and acknowledged or that infringements are on the increase? Or does it mean that designers are finally waking up to the fact that registration is a key component of a healthy intellectual (IP) strategy? Maybe it is a combination of all these factors? Why don’t designers register more, is it still too expensive? At €350 per single design, maybe it is, although there are reductions for volume.

National registrations granted in the UK amounted to 2976 in 2008 and 2111 in 2009, a decrease of 29.1%. However, on the other side of the coin, for those relying on unregistered rights,  ACID’s Design Data Bank receives approximately 30,000 designs per year indicating, that by the sheer volume, many of the UK’s designers are still relying on unregistered rights. If a designer relies on unregistered rights, by creating an independently held IP audit trail this provides compelling evidence and can reverse the burden of proof against an alleged infringer. Out of ACID’s 400 settlements, the majority have been settled by designers relying on unregistered rights.

The UK used to be a nation of shopkeepers and manufacturers. If a shopkeeper’s stock is stolen, they can’t trade. Now the UK is a knowledge economy. If an IP originators tradable knowledge is stolen, their capacity to continue to market and sell designs may be seriously eroded. EU and National policy makers should seriously consider reducing registration fees and making cost and time effective legal redress a priority in a significant policy shift change. Introducing accessible IP enforcement with meaningful exemplary damages wouldn’t be a bad start.

© Dids Macdonald is the Chief Executive of ACID (Anti Copying in Design)

Image showing Aspinal brandAnti Copying in Design (ACID) members Aspinal of London have secured a settlement after a long battle against copycat predators who  marched off with their products, mimicked their website and shamelessly created a look alike business, free riding on the back of Aspinal’s hard- fought- for brand identity and reputation. Despite denying liability, the defendants, in a confidential settlement, agreed not to trade in any capacity in the leather goods business for 10 years and to pass over all the assets including all the stock and their entire business to Aspinal. The case was described as being one of the most complex cases to come before the London Patents Court in fifty years.

An outraged Iain Burton the Chairman and Founder of Aspinal said, “This was an extraordinary example of unscrupulous business persons believing that they could, with impunity, walk off with an entire business and create a copycat trading company using every aspect of Aspinal’s brand identity, including its look and feel, text, brand voice and communication platform. The case boiled down to infringement of intellectual copyrights and also breach of numerous common law torts. The case was, of course, difficult to pursue and the costs were quite extraordinary, but in building a brand for generations to come it is an important principle that a company’s intellectual property and its brand identity and its confidential information must be fiercely protected.”

Aspinal of London, one of the UK’s fastest growing British luxury brands, had been forced to take action against individuals with whom they trustingly shared an office and warehouse premises.  Without warning, they vacated the shared premises and  promptly set about to manufacture a wide range of more than 100 designs, copying or mimicking Aspinal’s entire range of products and  designs, the Aspinal “ look and feel”  and the entire Aspinal business model. The case against the defendants was pursued in two parts. The first was breach of copyright, Community rights, registered designs and unregistered designs. The second was a case of common law tort, including the misuse of confidential information and inducement of Aspinal’s manufacturers to breach their agreements and exclusivity.

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s Chief Executive said of the case, “The fact that we are not allowed to mention the other party’s names is a great shame but the message to Aspinal’s competitors (and others who may think about following the same business strategy), must be crystal clear, brand protection and the intellectual property that underpins the success of Aspinal of London is its lifeblood and any infringement whatsoever by third parties will be taken very seriously indeed in the future.”

Aspinal is opening its new boutique Flagship in Brook Street. W1. At end of October and will be launching the first of 30 planned 2000 sq feet stand alone stores in the Middle East and East Europe early in the New Year.

Aspinal of London Head Office 01428 648180
Aspinal of London Press & PR Front Row Maria Blake:  0207 731 6077

IPO Logo

ACID Ambassador Dr Frederick Mostert, Nick Kounoupias, ACID’s Chief legal counsel and CEO Dids Macdonald held further constructive talks with UK IPO’s John Alty to present the rationale behind our claim for design rights to be brought in line with copyright and trade marks. ACID’s argument is based on the fact that copyright is a property right subsisting inter alia in “artistic works” – see Section 1(1) (a) CDPA and Design right is a property right subsisting in original designs (S.213 (1) CDPA).  ACID believes that copyright and design rights are exactly the same type of legal right and should be treated similarly. ACID further argues the fact that copyright infringement is in certain circumstances a criminal offence (see S.198 CDPA). Trade mark infringement is also a criminal offence (S. 92 TMA). These crimes are punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Infringement of design right is not a criminal offence and can be dealt with by way of civil proceedings only and we believe that this gives rise to anomalies and inequality of treatment. Dids Macdonald said, “We have provided a compelling rationale and now that we have full backing from the influential Alliance against IP Theft, I feel that this will be a positive step forward in ensuring that Andrew Gower’s recommendations to the UKIPO for parity in IP rights will be nearer reality. It is long overdue for the design industry. Our next step is to present our case to IP Minister Baroness Wilcox.”

Image of Andy LeeQ  I am an independent furniture designer but I do incorporate previous design features into my own original work, such as Chippendale style legs etc.  Does this affect the rights in my design?

The incorporation of common design features can in certain circumstances produce a new original design when taken as a whole. However, if someone were to copy the previous design features you had incorporated into your design in isolation then you could have no complaint. The originality and protection of your design would reside in the combination of features and therefore that combination would need to be appropriated for any claim to subsist.

However, it could be that another person copies your original parts without copying the old design features you had incorporated. In this situation it may be that you could rely on the originality of individual parts of your design that had been created by you.

In summary the incorporation of old features does not necessarily negatively affect your rights in your design but it could affect your ability to pursue others. Each case is always fact dependent and legal advice should be sought. The bottom line if in any doubt is to clarify your position with an IP specialist before marketing a new design which incorporates what could be described as the style of others.

Q  My company produces reproduction furniture based on items from the 18th and 19th centuries.  Are we able to register any of the designs we produce?

When applying for a registered design, the hurdle is whether the design applied for is new and of individual character. By new, this means that no new identical design has been made available to the public before the date on which the design for which protection is claimed is applied for. The design will be considered identical if its features differ only in immaterial details.

Further, a design shall be considered to have individual character if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any design which has been made available to the public before the date on which the design for which protection is claimed is applied for. Various factors, such as the degree of freedom of the designer, technical constraints and legislative requirements are taken into account.

Each case will depend on its own facts, but those are the basic requirements. If your company is producing copies of furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries without any substantial additions in appearance, then it is extremely unlikely they would be registrable as identical designs will have already been disclosed prior to the date you apply and those designs would give the same impression as the furniture you are producing.

Although there are typically no prior art checks undertaken by the relevant designs office, if the validity of the design was ever challenged, such as if you ever tried to enforce the registration against a third party, then the design would likely be invalidated for lack of novelty.

Q  I have often seen furniture marketed as ‘in the style of’ for example, Charles Eames.  Is this permissible under UK Design Law?

Purely under a UK design law basis, the issue would concern the appearance of such furniture rather than its branding, therefore marketing such furniture in that manner would not offend against any design law.

However, any potential issues that may arise could be in respect of trade mark laws or passing off. If, for example, a famous name was registered in respect of furniture, then it would essentially depend in what manner you were using that name, i.e. you may not be using it in a trade mark sense (i.e. to distinguish your goods from a competitor), but purely to denote a characteristic of your goods, as in the example above, and hence not offend against the registration. However, each case will depend on its own facts, and whether for example that use is honest.

Furthermore, if the trade mark was a really well known mark, then it could be said you were taking unfair advantage of that mark even if you are using it to denote a characteristic.

If you are in any doubt about what is permissible, seeking legal advice is recommended.

Q  My company has been producing a very successful range of bedroom furniture for some years.  Another company has recently approached me and said that now I have to allow them to produce it also.  Is this right?

Yes, potentially. If your furniture is the mass produced type, and you have not sought a formal design registration, then any protection is likely to be limited to the UK unregistered design right. The right lasts for 15 years from the end of the calendar year in which that design document or that article came into existence (whichever occurred first).

However, if articles made to the design are sold anywhere in the world within the first five years then the design right will expire 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the articles were first made available for sale or hire.

In the last 5 years of the right, any person is entitled as of right to a licence to produce your designs. If you cannot agree terms then this can be resolved by the Design Comptroller.

However, the matter may not be so simple. If your furniture for example is handmade, then it may be protected by copyright, to which no licence of right applies. In addition, any surface patterns, such as engravings, or prints on the furniture could also be copyright. In those circumstances, again, those parts of the furniture would not be subject to the licence of right.

In this situation, it would be advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Q  I have produced a chair design which I think is suitable for mass production.  What sort of documentation should I have in place before I contact manufacturers in the Far East for production quotes?

Most people acknowledge that copying in the Far East is problematic. Furthermore, as those copyists are so far away, it can often be difficult to take action. On the other hand, this needs to be balanced with the fact that savings in production costs can be made by shifting production to those countries.
The first steps could be to contact any acquaintances who also use companies in the Far East as they may be able to recommend a trustworthy contact.   However, when it comes to sending prototypes for quotes, there are measures you can put in place to offer at least some protection. The ACID Intellectual Property Agreement could be useful. This is a short agreement that you would give to the manufacturer and ask them to sign before sending them any prototype, or sample of your designs. Signed agreements provide clarity of ownership should you ever need to rely on them in any dispute.
The agreement outlines that you are the owner of the samples and any intellectual property rights. The manufacturer, by signing the agreement would acknowledge that and also agree not to do anything with the samples without your written consent. It would also subject the manufactures to English law and jurisdiction meaning it is simpler and less costly to take action.
Of course, this does not offer any guarantee that things will not go wrong but it simplifies matters as opposed to having no written agreement in place.

CVO FIRE LOGOAward winning ACID (Anti Copying in Design) members Spirit Fires have been granted an order against Go Modern Limited for infringing its CVO trade mark in a recent ruling by His Honour Judge Fysh. An initial payment of £5,000 was ordered with costs and damages to be assessed later.

Spirit Fires have built their reputation using a unique flueless gas fire technology. So when they discovered that one of their competitors, Go Modern Limited, had high jacked the domain names cvofires.com, cvofires.co.uk, cvo-fires.com and cvo-fires.co.uk., they immediately instructed trade mark agents. By high jacking these domain names, Go Modern were using this technique to direct users and potential new customers to their website.

Initially the trade mark agents from whom they sought advice had been reticent about enforcement and advised them to use a domain name dispute resolution procedure. However, as brand protection is a key Spirit Fires strategy, they decided to call Niall Head Rapson of ACID Accredited law firm McDaniel & Co who advised them to issue proceedings for infringement of their Registered Trade Mark ‘CVO’ on 21 June 2010.

Commenting on the Judgment, Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “Being in possession of a Registered Trade Mark enabled McDaniel & Co to advise their client, Spirit Fires, to take instant decisive action in the form of issuing proceedings. In this case, it proved to be the most effective and timely means of achieving Spirit Fires’ objectives, to stop their competitors free riding on the back of their reputation.”

Christine McLoughlin, a Director of Spirit Fires said, “Our aim is to grow the Spirit Fires brand across Europe, supplying our clients with high quality designer flueless gas fires and flueless fireplaces using our unique gas fire burner technology – all hand made here in the UK. We are proud of our reputation which has seen our sales grow by 67% over the last 3 years.  We are determined that our brand will not be eroded by unfair competition and I am delighted that we were granted an Order and Injunction against Go Modern.”  www.cvo.co.uk

ACID (Anti Copying in Design) members Luminati Waycon trade under the name of Luminati, a recognised brand in the supply of engineered display solutions, supplying a vast range of display products. Like most companies in the 21st century, their website is one of their key means of marketing, being the main showcase of their products. Recently they have found many competitors copying the distinct look and text of their website which has proved to be an important selling tool.

One of the key product ranges marketed through Luminati’s website is its acrylic photo frames. The company had found that the website advertising of this product had been highly successful. Luminati recently discovered that one of their competitors had copied the literary text and layout of the webpage advertising the company’s acrylic photo frames. A letter before action was sent by ACID Accredited law firm McDaniel & Co. alleging copyright infringement. Following receipt of this letter the company concerned spoke with Luminati and agreed to remedy the infringement and pay Luminati’s legal costs.

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO said, “Increasingly ACID members are finding that sending a strong letter before action can achieve the right results. Taking legal action does not mean going all the way to Court and in this instance Luminati is sending a clear message not only to the sector but to this particular competitor that they are not going to tolerate any IP infringement now or in the future”.

Luminati’s Managing Director, Steve Senior said, “In this particular sector most of the key players know one another and there is no room for those who seek the fast track to market by producing look alike web pages appearing to trade off our brand identity. The way in which this was discovered was a fantastic new free service called Copyscape. By entering our own web text a result came back which confirmed that the majority of the text had been slavishly copied. Luminati’s case was further compounded by a time stamped snapshot taken of their website by hosting company ICO3 who keep permanent incremental backups of their clients websites over several years. Our brand protection policy takes priority and we will always be assertive in pursuing any intellectual property infringement.”  www.copyscape.com

Luminati produce a variety of acrylic and Perspex display products including greetings card display stands, postcard racks, display cases, display cabinets, acrylic cubes, leaflet dispensers and information carousels, poster holders, photo frames, merchandising and display systems, FSDU’s, shelf management systems, sign holders, slat wall fittings, clear acrylic trays, wall mounted dispensers and lightboxes. They have a wide variety of customers ranging from large corporations to private individuals. The team at Luminati have an intimate knowledge of our chosen materials and pride themselves in the quality of their products and designs.   www.luminati.co.uk

« Previous Entries Next Entries »