T & A Textiles Hosiery Limited v Hala Textile UK Limited [2015] EWHC 2888 IPEC

24 September 2015

Ashton Chantrielle appeared for the Defendants, Hala Textile. T&A Textiles alleged infringement of artistic copyright in the drawings of eleven floral bed linen designs and infringement of a UK registered design in respect of packaging. Hala Textile counterclaimed that the registered design was invalid and brought an action for groundless threats of proceedings for design infringement.

Douglas Campbell QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge, dismissed the claim for infringement of artistic copyright on the basis that the allegedly infringing articles were imported into the UK prior to the creation of T&A Textiles’ copyright works and, as such, could not constitute an infringing article. The registered design for a packaging label was held to be invalid as the allegedly infringing packaging had been made available to the public prior to the registration of the design.

Hala Textiles successfully counterclaimed that letters sent to a number of their customers by T&A Textiles constituted unlawful threats. On the issue of whether T&A Textiles’ correspondence with eBay also constituted threats, Douglas Campbell QC found that a “Notice of Claimed Infringement” which did not identify T&A Textiles’ registered design was not an actionable threat. However, a subsequent letter sent to eBay under its Verification of Rights Ownership system which not only referred to the registered design right but also to the issuing of proceedings was held to be a clear threat.
Ashton Chantrielle was instructed by Verdant Solicitors.

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