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Your pineapples are unique, says UK copyright judge

2 September 2004

A landmark High Court ruling has been given in favour of ACID (Anti Copying In Design) member Nouveau Fabrics against a UK retailer and distributor.

The retailer, Voyage and distributor, Dunelm - who sold a copy of Nouveau’s 'Pineapple' fabric at a reduced price and in large quantities - claimed in their defence that the pineapple motif used in Nouveau’s fabric was “commonplace” and that their associated 'Luxor' fabric would stand up to any legal challenge.

However, they were proved wrong by the judge, who found that both Voyage and Dunelm had infringed Nouveau’s copyright. He then prevented Voyage and Dunelm from selling their fabric.

Nigel Thompson of Nouveau said:  “We have built an excellent reputation worldwide over the last 30 years for designing and producing creatively led furnishing fabrics. I was determined not to see our market share diluted by the sale of a copy of one of my longest running designs by mass importers Voyage. To be prepared to go all the way to the High Court is not for the faint hearted, but it was a route that we took with confidence, knowing that my design was unique."

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO, added: “This victory should serve as a crystal clear warning to those selling designs supplied to them by others to make sufficient enquiries to satisfy themselves that they are not selling a copy. It also demonstrates that it is wrong to assume that a design of something like a pineapple motif cannot be protected by copyright by arguing that it is a generic design.”

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