Tag: property & construction

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Western Australian Court orders ex-customers and architect to pay damages to house designer for unauthorised use of plans
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Australian Court Orders Copy House to Undergo Significant Alterations: A Recent Decision on Copyright Infringement in Building Designs
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Tamawood v Habitare: a Recent Australian Decision on Copyright Infringement in Building Designs
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Recording Trade Mark Licence Agreements in the Middle East
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High Court of Australia Decides Landmark Trade Mark Case

Western Australian Court orders ex-customers and architect to pay damages to house designer for unauthorised use of plans

On 22 January 2018, Justice Martino of the Supreme Court of Western Australia delivered his judgment in the case of Milankov Designs & Project Management Pty Ltd v Di Latte & Anor, a copyright infringement case in respect of house plans.

Mr and Mrs Di Latte engaged the plaintiff, Milankov Designs & Project Management Pty Ltd (Milankov), to design and prepare drawings for a home to be built at the Di Lattes’ property.  The agreement provided that Milankov would prepare plans for stages of the design and build process – first, the development stage and, second, the construction drawing stage. The Di Lattes agreed to pay Milankov a percentage of the build cost, to be billed to the Di Lattes at various stages throughout the process.

After Milankov had prepared the stage one plans (including plans submitted to council for building licence approval) and the Di Lattes had paid several invoices issued by Milankov, the relationship between the parties broke down.  The engagement contract was terminated by the Di Lattes, and Milankov promptly wrote to the Di Lattes putting them on notice that Milankov owned copyright in the plans it had created and that the Di Lattes were not entitled to reproduce the plans without its permission, including by building the house at their property.

Nonetheless, the Di Lattes proceeded to engage an architect to create plans including construction drawings by copying Milankov’s plans, and then to construct a house in accordance with the design.

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Australian Court Orders Copy House to Undergo Significant Alterations: A Recent Decision on Copyright Infringement in Building Designs

Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Queensland (Court) delivered its judgment in the case of Coles v Dormer & Ors, a copyright infringement case about home designs. The Court found that a house built in an exclusive Port Douglas estate was created by copying the design of another house built close by in the same estate, and ordered that the infringing house undergo significant alterations to change its appearance.

John and Edith Bredens were prospective buyers of a home in The Sands, which had been constructed by Port Douglas Builders in accordance with plans created by designer Gregory Skyring. The Bredens were not successful in purchasing the house, which was ultimately bought by Stephen Coles, who gave evidence that he was particularly taken with the unique style of the house.

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Tamawood v Habitare: a Recent Australian Decision on Copyright Infringement in Building Designs

Earlier this week the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court) delivered its judgment in the case of Tamawood v Habitare Developments, a copyright infringement case in respect of project home designs.

Habitare Developments had engaged designer/builder Tamawood to create designs for project homes for a new development. However, due to a falling out between the parties, Habitare Developments ultimately engaged architects Mondo to create the final plans for the development and engaged another builder to construct the houses. Tamawood commenced proceedings against all parties for copyright infringement. The respondents denied that Tamawood’s designs had been used as a starting point and that copyright had been infringed.

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Recording Trade Mark Licence Agreements in the Middle East

Many businesses operate in the Middle East through entities licensed to use their trade marks. These businesses should be aware that many Middle Eastern countries require that trade mark licence agreements are recorded with the respective Trade Mark Registers or other named authorities in these countries. Not recording a licence agreement could lead to monetary penalties being imposed on the licensee or an inability to enforce trade marks against third party infringers.

For example, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates each have more or less equivalent provisions in which a trade mark licence agreement must be in writing, it cannot include unregistered trade marks and it has no legal effect against third parties unless it is recorded on the respective Trade Mark Registers (or other named authorities in these countries). Each of these countries has slightly different processes and requirements for seeking registration of a trade mark licence agreement. Read More

High Court of Australia Decides Landmark Trade Mark Case

Decision in Cantarella Bros Pty Ltd v Modena Trading Pty Ltd Clarifies Test for Distinctiveness of Trade Marks in Australia

This week, the High Court of Australia (High Court) handed down only its third decision considering trade mark issues since the enactment of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). This decision could make it easier to register foreign language words as trade marks.

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