It is true that most designers view the Court of Appeal decision in the Febreze/Airwick row with either anger, frustration or an air of depressed resignation (www.designweek.co.uk, 11 October).
Many are citing it as proof positive that the law is an ass, and/or that it isn’t worth trying to rely on IP law to protect your design innovations.
But there is, in fact, also some good news here. First, Reckitt’s attempt also to invalidate and revoke the Registered Community Design failed. Second, the court made it clear that it is not interested in seeing masses of evidence, expert or otherwise, when working out the impact and similarities of designs.
So, that should at least result in future cases being smaller, more contained and hence quicker to run. And not only quicker, but cheaper.
Andy Millmore, Partner, Harbottle & Lewis, London W1