Is this infringement or reasonable?

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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bbloke
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Is this infringement or reasonable?

Post by bbloke » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:21 pm

I have a set six of fancy dress badges that I designed and sell on ebay/amazon, etc. They're quite popular and have sold quite well for the last few years. Here is a picture:

Image


Recently, one of my competitors has created a strikingly similar set of six badges for sale on ebay


Image


Where does this stand re copyright law? Is it fair game or have I grounds for complaint?

Thanks!
Darren

bbloke
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Post by bbloke » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:00 am

Just an update. My competitor, in the spirit of professional courtesy, has removed his product from sale :D

Nevertheless, I'd be interested to hear what you think, as he argues that each badge design is too simple to copyright. My argument is that the product is designed and sold as a set of six, not six individual designs, and should be protected as such.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:33 am

Hi bbloke,
I'm glad your competitor has removed his goods from sale. That saves you the bother of taking formal action against him. I just hope that in the meantime he hasn't lost you too many sales.
There is almost no doubt that you would have had (and continue to have) a strong case for infringement. He is wrong in thinking the designs are too simple to attract copyright. Each individual badge is an artistic work and since it involved a reasonable amount of creatve effort and originality, it would attract copyright. Possibly what the competitor meant was that a court might decide not to hear a claim on the grounds it was too trifling (de minimis is the Latin tag used for this), but again he would be wrong. I have no doubt that you could demonstrate that the revenue from sales of these badges was not insignificant, and therefore having to divide such sales between you would have a detrimental effect on your business, especially if he was undercutting you. Here is an example of a case in the High Court known as The Flashing Badge Company Ltd v Brian David Groves [2007] EWHC Ch 1372 which has a number of similarities to your own, and which the claimant won.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

bbloke
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Post by bbloke » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:33 pm

Many thanks (yet again!) for your stellar reply Andy. Much appreciated :D

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