Speedy justice in design case
In what may be a record for an IP case in the UK, the trial in Lutec (UK) Ltd & Ors v Cascade Holdings Ltd & Anor  EWHC 1907 (Pat) lasted just over an hour. In his judgment published on 9 July 2021, Deputy High Court Judge David Stone found that four registered designs were infringed by two outdoor light fittings, known as the Helios Up Or Down light (Helios U/D) and the Helios Up And Down light (Helios U&D).
The judge attributed the rapid resolution to “thorough preparation by the parties, the absence of evidence and (particularly) expert evidence, together with well-targeted skeleton arguments and to-the-point oral submissions” and congratulated the parties and their advisers on their “efficient and proportionate approach”.
Wide scope of protection
In his judgment, Mr Stone said that the designs claimed a shape as they depicted the overall shape of two exterior lights. The informed user was a member of the general public who is interested in purchasing outdoor light fittings for home and/or business premises. The defendants had conceded that the degree of freedom of a designer of outdoor lights was very considerable, implying a wide scope of protection for the design rights.
He concluded: “In my judgment, the features of the Helios products which will strike the informed user are those of the light housing. Those are the features that will be most visible once the light is installed. The box at the back will be seen by the informed user as of less importance, and whilst the differences might register with her/him, they will not be such as to produce on such an informed user a different overall impression as between [design] 0001 and the Helios U/D and as between [design] 0002 and the Helios U&D.”
In other words, the designs were infringed. The validity of the designs was not in issue.
As the parties were unable to agree on costs to be awarded to the successful party, the judge gave a short judgment on costs on 13 August 2021 based on written submissions. He awarded the claimant its claimed costs of £18,913.50, which was within the IPEC stage cap of £28,000, and said: “It is important in IPEC proceedings that costs assessment not become unnecessary satellite litigation the costs of which are at risk of exceeding the amounts in dispute.”
To find out more about the issues raised in this case including trade mark disputes and filing contact Rosie Burbidge, Intellectual Property Partner at Gunnercooke LLP in London - firstname.lastname@example.org