Originally posted 2014-12-26 11:00:11.

By Gloria Han | amdlawgroup.com

superdryThe number of design infringement cases have been increasing, as the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, a court equivalent to the High Court regarding intellectual property matters, based in London, is hearing cases faster and at a far less cost. In addition, a change brought about by the Intellectual Property Act 2014 may further impact design law cases. The difficulty with proving an unregistered designed infringement case is putting a particular design into words. There are two ways in which a design can be described: either the designed is defined by the shape of the article, listing features that are most relevant to the features that the claimant relies on or the claimant defines his designs with features and might be embodied in the designed physical article. In a recent case between two clothing companies, Superdry under the larger branch known as DKH, and Animal under Young, Superdry defined its design with a list of features that did no more than identify the most important features that mattered.

The designer for DKH alleged that Young infringed upon its unregistered design rights. DKH sued Young for selling and importing similar designs of the ‘Academy’ gilet under its SUPERDRY brand name and the hood. The claimant, DKH, proved that its designs were original and unique. The IPEC (Intellectual Property Enterprise Court) concluded that only a secondary infringement was alleged. Therefore, DKH had to prove that the defendant knew or speculated that its products were similar to its designs. The court found that the designs were more similar than different and that there was no functional purpose of the design considering the Academy gilet was for the looks of fashion. The claimant’s design was found to have unique character and that the similarity between SUPERDRY and Animal’s designs would bring about a likelihood of confusion among consumers. The emphasis on protecting your intellectual property rights is stronger now more than previous years. Before entering into the fashion world, it is important to thoroughly search and confirm your design is original and unique to avoid lawsuits against your business.

Resources:

http://www.superdry.com/us/

http://www.wragge-law.com/insights/fashion-and-damages-in-the-latest-two-ipec-designs-decisions/

http://swarb.co.uk/dkh-retail-ltd-v-h-young-operations-ltd-ipec-8-dec-2014/

Image Credits: http://www.aforadio.com/olduploads/2013/11/Superdry1.jpg

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