Anti Copying in Design says that one of its members – Mark Wilkinson Furniture – has set a precedent in recent legal action against the infringement of design rights by successfully pursuing a construction case against three parties for the first time.
The furniture and interiors firm accepted an out-of-court settlement of £26 000 for damages and legal costs against architect Rance Booth & Smith, kitchen contractor Thirteen Twenty director Steven Hirst and a homeowner, Jenny Garforth.
According to MWF commercial director Gordon Monro, his attention was first drawn to the case when Garforth’s kitchen, incorporating a copy of its Mai design, was featured in an article in Yorkshire Life in February 2006. The homeowner is said to have shown RB&S the MWF brochure so that the architect could create drawings of something similar to the Mai range.
Acid membership development manager Jane Stephenson says that, generally, householders are not aware of intellectual property rights. ‘They need to realise that they cannot put a brochure in front of an architect and expect them to imitate it. It really highlights the need for design rights to be brought in line with copyright,’ she says.