Shoosmiths scores IP victory for Jimmy Choo

Shoosmiths has bagged a win for new client Jimmy Choo, forcing retailer New Look to pay £80,000 in damages and withdraw more than 1,000 shoes that copied Jimmy Choo’s design.

The firm won the work through its close ties with Jimmy Choo general counsel Hannah Merritt, who instructed Shoosmiths on general commercial matters when she was a senior in-house lawyer at car rental company Hertz.

Shoosmiths lost the Hertz account in 2003 when ex-parent company Ford set up a formalised panel. Merritt left Hertz for Jimmy Choo in May 2004 after five years at the car rental business.

Shoosmiths IP head Gary Assim led the Shoosmiths team on the dispute. Jimmy Choo had an unregistered community design right on the shoe, which works in a similar way to copyright and protects the design for three years throughout the EU.

“A retailer might see the design, send it to China and make five or six small changes,” said Assim. “One-hundred per cent of the time they won’t change the one thing about the design that’s protected.”

The European design right system protects aspects of the design as well as the whole.

Philip Herbert, an IP litigation partner at Hamlins, advised New Look.