Make Sure You Get Your Design Right

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G-Star, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers in denim fashion brands, recently brought proceedings against four members of the Rhodi group of companies, alleging that they had been involved in infringement of its UK unregistered design rights.

The infringement case related to the specific ‘Arc’ design of G-Star’s jeans and G-Star alleged that various Rhodi styles were made to the design of the Arc pant thereby infringing G-Star’s UK unregistered design rights.

Rhodi said that its styles were created ‘without reference to the Arc’ and that they were just following general fashion trends in the denim market, using generic features which had become common. Despite copying being considered widespread in the fashion industry, this is the first High Court case concerning design rights in this industry for a substantial period of time.

G-Star succeeded in proving that all nine of Rhodi’s styles infringed its design rights and that four of the Rhodi companies were liable for those infringements.  The court held that G-Star has several unregistered UK design rights in this style and that they were the owners of those rights. Four members of the Rhodi group of companies had infringed those design rights by importing and selling copies of the Arc design.

Like many in the fashion industry, the case concerned secondary infringement as Rhodi’s products were manufactured overseas. The judgment not only sends a strong message to G-Star’s competitors that it will not tolerate IP infringement but also highlights to other fashion brands the importance of asserting and protecting their intellectual property rights.

Forbes Solicitors regularly assists businesses and individuals with identifying and protecting their intellectual property and wider business interests.  For further advice and assistance, please contact John Pickervance in the Business Law Department by telephone on 0800 037 4628 or via our Contact Form.

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