On 24 February 2021, the UK High Court found that a number of Oh Polly dress designs had infringed the unregistered design rights of its competitor, House of CB. This recent decision confirms the risk of additional damages being awarded if infringers flagrantly copy third party designs, whilst also confirming the difficulties brand owners face in bringing passing off actions based solely on copycat designs.Read More
The Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 (Bill), with important changes to designs law, is currently before Senate for consideration. It includes a much-anticipated change to implement a grace period that will allow designers to publish their designs before applying for design protection.Read More
The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted all businesses in one way or another and IP Australia understands that dealing with IP matters is not necessarily the highest priority for some businesses.
As a result, from 22 April 2020 IP Australia is providing free three month extensions of time for most deadlines but not renewal and continuation fees deadlines. Additionally, the six month grace period is still available and ordinary extensions of time will remain available for periods of longer than three months.Read More
In Response Clothing Ltd v The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd  EWHC 148 (IPEC), the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (“IPEC”) has issued the first UK decision made since the Court of Justice of the European Union’s controversial decision in Cofemel (C-683/17).
Why does this matter?
The Cofemel decision indicated that there is a harmonised concept of what constitutes a ‘work’ under copyright law throughout the EU, which is not restricted by any defined categories and should not take into account any aesthetic considerations.
Accordingly, there has been much discussion about the UK’s closed list of copyright protectable subject matter under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 (“1988 Act”) and the concepts of ‘artistic works’, ‘sculptures’ and ‘works of artistic craftsmanship’ under section 4 of the 1988 Act and whether these are incompatible with EU law. Previous prominent Court decisions such as the Lucasfilm decision in the Stormtrooper Helmet case have also been thrown into question.
This decision is the first time that a UK Court has had to deal with this apparent incompatibility.Read More
On Tuesday July 23, 2019, the Federal Circuit declined to fashion design-patent-specific doctrines of exhaustion or repair. Automotive Body Parts Ass’n v. Ford Global Techs., LLC, Case No. 2018-1613, slip op. at 2 (Fed. Cir. July 23, 2019).
Instead, the court reemphasized that the same rules apply to utility patents and to design patents unless otherwise provided by law. Id. Also concluding that “aesthetic appeal” is not functional, the court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in Ford’s favor. Id. The decision is notable for its widening of the gap between trade dress and design patents and for its reaffirmation of the principle that design patents and utility patents should, whenever possible, receive identical treatment under the law.Read More
UK Government issues guidance on IP matters if there is no deal struck
Over two years after the UK voted to leave the EU, there is an increasingly likely possibility that the UK will leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal agreed (although negotiations continue). As a result, the technical guidance notes published on 24 September 2018 give businesses, brand owners and designers much needed insight into how such a scenario will look.
Small businesses and individual rights holders are set to benefit from the Intellectual Property National Pilot Scheme in the Federal Circuit Court
A specialist IP list in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) is open for business, with the goal of achieving quick, cheap and effective dispute resolution of intellectual property matters.
The Intellectual Property National Pilot Scheme commenced on 1 July 2018 and appeals to small and medium-sized enterprises, individual rights holders and young innovators who may have previously avoided the court system even though they had a legitimate right or a good defence, but found that it simply wasn’t worth the fight.
The UK Intellectual Property Office Publishes Helpful Guidance on the Use of Representations When Filing Registered Design Applications.
Following the recent Supreme Court judgement in PMS International Limited v Magmatic Limited  UKSC 12, otherwise known as the ‘Trunki case’, the UK Intellectual Property Office has published helpful guidance on the use of representations when filing Registered Design applications. The guidance is directly relevant to design applications filed in the UK but will also be useful for Community design applications filed at the EUIPO.
Earlier this year, K&L Gates hosted its annual Fashion Law Breakfast in conjunction with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. A fantastic panel of both fashion and legal experts divulged tips on inspiring creativity in the fashion industry and combating copyists.
Following trend forecasts and drawing inspiration from the catwalks overseas is nothing new or particularly sinister. However, there is a clear distinction between drawing inspiration and copying.
Fashion brands need to have a culture that sets clear expectations when it comes to drawing the line between inspiration and copying. Creating something new and innovative needs to be part of a fashion brand’s modus operandi. Junior designers with their fresh approach and cutting edge design skills should be encouraged to work on hero collection pieces.