Our client, a major UK manufacturer of sophisticated hi-fi equipment, was being sued in the High Court for infringement of several registered designs.
Visually, our client’s loudspeakers and the claimant’s were different but shared specific design features. On one hand, these design features made the speakers look elegant, striking and distinctive. On the other hand, they were also functional, helping the speakers to produce a specific acoustical effect and reduce sound distortion.
Had our client inadvertently strayed into an area that infringed another’s protected design?
Fortunately, Registered Design Law excludes features that are technically motivated from the protection conferred by a registration.
Our client’s competitor denied that these features were solely technical, so we investigated their marketing materials. These explained, at length, how the specific design features enhanced the acoustic qualities of their loudspeakers – the precise point of our defence. We also used the Court’s discovery process to unearth a powerful piece of evidence that proved the loudspeakers had been in public display before the registered designs were filed.
Under the weight of evidence we were able to produce and present in our client’s defence, their competitor felt they had no option but to withdraw their claim. All in all this proved a just result to reward for our diligence and a produced a very happy client into the bargain.