Van Neder wins £375,000 copying case
Upholstery fabric producer Van Neder has been awarded damages of more than £375,000 after the High Court ruled importer Fu Long copied two of its bestselling designs.
Van Neder's lawyers Taylors Solicitors told the court that two successful jacquard designs, Nevada and Arizona, were copied by Fu Long and marketed in the UK by Fu Long on its website www.fulongltd.com. Prior to the importation of Fu Long's copies, sales of Van Neder's designs had been strong but these tailed off when cheap reproductions entered the UK market.
Fu Long defended the proceedings claiming that its designs pre-dated those of Van Neder. Fu Long sought to substantiate this allegation by producing Chinese trademark registration documents, but investigations demonstrated that these documents were forged by or on behalf of Fu Long.
The court granted a permanent injunction against Fu Long, its employees or agents preventing the importation and sale of its fabrics known as Script, Liberty or Libretto and as Eden, Anthony or Antonio, each of which were copies of Van Neder's Nevada and Arizona designs. The Court also ordered delivery up to Van Neder of all residual stocks of the infringing designs and awarded damages, interest and costs of £375,289.
'I am delighted that we have obtained this substantial judgment for damages and costs against Fu Long. The problem of cheap copies flooding the market from Far Eastern manufacturers is endemic not only in the UK but the rest of Europe and is extremely damaging to the European textile industry. This case demonstrates that reputable manufacturers who stand up for their rights can protect their investment in original designs and obtain redress from the courts,' says Van Neder's Nicolas Van Neder.
'Van Neder's success in obtaining a very substantial judgment for damages and costs illustrates that the English legal system has teeth with which to bite plagiarists. This judgment should send a strong message to those seeking to ride on the creative efforts of reputable designers that they will be made to suffer the financial consequences of their unlawful conduct. This victory for Van Neder represents another step along the road towards stamping out blatant plagiarism,' says Tony Catterall of Taylors Solicitors, who led Taylors' legal team.
Proceedings were also issued against Tokyo Fabrics which subsequently went into liquidation.