Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2013 position: 25

Mira secures significant damages award

By Claire O’Brien

Following last year’s judgment that Bristan had infringed Mira’s UK unregistered design rights, the parties were back in court this year for the damages enquiry. Such enquiries are rare, particularly in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC). However, in the absence of an acceptable offer of settlement, Mira fought on to the enquiry and secured a damages award of more than £227,000 plus interest and costs — the second-highest award in the IPEC since procedural reforms were introduced in 2010.

In January 2013, Bristan was found to have infringed Mira’s UK unregistered design rights. The designs were embodied in Mira’s striking Azora shower design. Bristan escaped liability for infringement of Mira’s Community registered rights, as the dotted lines in Mira’s design registrations were interpreted to mean transparency and Bristan’s copy products did not have a transparent front face.

Most cases never reach a quantum trial because the costs of fighting the quantum stage can be as much as, if not more than, the cost of the substantive proceedings. Further, the restricted costs recovery cap in the IPEC (£25,000 for a damages enquiry or an account of profits) provides a further incentive for the parties to settle…

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