Taylors - The Commercial Law Firm
Commercial law firm Taylors Legal Services Ltd are
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offices in Manchester and Blackburn, Lancashire.
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providing the highest quality service
through a real understanding of our clients'
needs, business priorities and specific
requirements. We offer a common sense and
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Major retailer EWM takes advantage of the “little guy” in textile copyright case
A Blackburn clothing firm has triumphed in a copyright battle against Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) in what lawyers from taylors describe as a ‘David v Goliath’ victory.
Response Clothing in Blackburn supplied a ladies’ top made from a jacquard fabric with a ‘wave’ pattern to EWM between 2009 to 2012. But when the Blackburn firm tried to increase prices, the national retailer took a sample to another garment supplier and had it copied, the High Court was told.
EWM, who have 400 retail stores nationwide, had similar tops made by Visage using the distinctive wave pattern for three years before sourcing similar tops from Vietnamese company Cingo, and a Bangladeshi company, Bengal Knittex.
Response subsequently sued EWM for copyright infringement in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, led by Intellectual Property experts Taylors Legal Services.
The High Court Judge found that the wave fabric was ‘a work of artistic craftsmanship’ even though it was produced on a machine - which was infringed by EWM’s tops.
Judge Hacon also found that the importation and sale of the tops by EWM was a secondary infringement of copyright because EWM should have known that dealing in the copies of Response’s fabric would be in breach of Response’s rights.
He said: “In my view, the similarities between the Wave fabric and each of the Visage, Cingo and Bengal Knittex Fabrics, would have been apparent to a reasonable person and would have led that person to believe that dealing in the latter fabrics would be in breach of rights likely to be held by Response. EWM's sales of the Visage, Cingo and Bengal Knittex Fabrics were all secondary infringements.”
Tony Catterall, Head of the Intellectual Property Team at Taylors Legal Services Limited, acted for Response. He said: “We have been delighted to see this case to a successful conclusion for Response Clothing.
“This was an example of a major retailer taking advantage of the ‘little guy’ and believing it could copy a supplier’s design with impunity.
“EWM went to extraordinary lengths to fight this case, applying to the Court for two rounds of expert evidence and seeking leave to put in supplemental fact evidence. Those efforts were all in vain and this claim illustrates that no business seeking to protect its IP rights need fear a ‘deep pockets’ opponent when bringing a case before the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.”
With offices in Manchester and Blackburn, Taylors is a law firm specialising in all aspects of commercial law. The dynamic and highly experienced lawyers at Taylors are committed to providing the highest quality service through a real understanding of our clients’ needs, business priorities and specific requirements.
For further information contact Tony Catterall, Head of the Intellectual Property Team at Taylors, on 01254 297900 or via email at email@example.com.
Taylors is the only North West based firm to have been appointed as a legal affiliate to the National organisation Anti Copying In Design (“ACID”).