Pressure group Anti Copying in Design is set to take Boots to court on behalf of Warwickshire bathroom company Bliss, which claims the retailer has copied two of its designs.
Acid issued a writ to Boots earlier this year, claiming it was stocking two products – a two-tier soap dish and a recipe book stand – very similar to ones supplied by Bliss the previous year (DW 16 January). Bliss claims Boots has copied its designs and given them to a cheaper manufacturer.
Boots is due to file its defence shortly. This means it opposes the writ. “We don’t know what the defence will say, so we can’t respond to it yet. Our client [Bliss] has every intention of going all the way to trial,” says Acid lawyer Simon Clark.
Clark suggests court action at this stage is almost inevitable.
“If Boots doesn’t file its defence soon we may go to court over that. [The retailer] has already had two extensions because it is effectively claiming it doesn’t understand our claim. We say it’s quite clear,” says Clark.
At the time of issuing the writ Clark said: “The 1998 Copyright Act definition of design applies to any output of shape or configuration, whether internal or external, of the whole part of an article. We believe the products have been substantially copied and think we have a good case.”
A Boots spokesman says he is unable to comment in view of the impending deadline for filing the defence.