Copyright Law Defeats Cloth Copiers

July 23, 2013

Copyright Law Defeats Cloth Copiers

When a cloth pattern was copied and used by another business for its own fabrics, the woollen mill which owns the pattern took action to stop it.

The pattern was not a registered trade mark so the action was brought using the law of copyright. In the UK, copyright is an automatic right and need not be registered or applied for: accordingly, copyright protection is automatic.

The Patents County Court accepted that the ‘ticket stamp’ created by the woollen mill was subject to copyright. A ticket stamp is the pattern guide for the setting up of the loom which controls the weave and hence the pattern woven into the fabric. Since the ticket stamp determines the final appearance of a woven cloth pattern, a breach of the copyright attaching to a ticket stamp is ground for pursuing a claim for damages and/or an injunction to prevent the use of the pattern.

In this case, the Court ruled that the copyright was breached and allowed the claim.

One might not immediately think of using copyright law in circumstances such as this, but in the UK the law is clear and if ‘prior art’ can be established, it can be an effective tool to use in circumstances such as this.