Press Room

To recieve automatic alerts to our press releases please sign up for our RSS feed

Flashing Badge Co. Limited v Groves (t/a Flashing Badges by Virgo and Virgo Distribution) EWHC 1372 (Ch) Chancery Division, Rimer J

Ahmud & Co. instructed by the Claimant, the Flashing Badge Co. Limited in respect of the breach of copyright of 25 novelty badges which the Defendant, Brian Groves, admittedly copied and sold, and the Claimant was successful and the Judge's Judgment also clarified Section 51 of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988, as to whether a design is protected by copyright, or design right, Lambretta Clothing Co Ltd v Teddy Smith (UK) Ltd [2005] IP&T 609.

The Claimant commissioned a freelance artist to design the badges and thereafter bought the copyright from the artist. The badges included slogans such as "Princess", "Sex Mad", "Birthday Boy", "It's My Birthday" and "21 Today". Each badge bore six flashing LED lights specifically positioned to suit each design, and a key feature of each badge was that its outline shape followed the outline of the artistic design (for example, a key for "21 Today", and a crown shape for "Princess"), which formed the face of each badge.

The Defendant bought a set of the badges from the Claimant and then commissioned almost identical badges to be made in China which he then imported and sold in the UK. The Defendant disputed that there was any infringement of the badge designs but admitted copyright existed in the graphic design.

The court ruled that " … each drawing was a ‘design document’ within the meaning of s 51(3) CDPA 1988, since each drawing incorporated a design for an artistic work, and a design for something other than an artistic work, namely an article in the nature of a badge in the same outline shape as the artistic work".

Judge Rimer distinguished and clarified Lambretta from the present case, stating that "it was true that the design of the shape of the badge followed the outline of the design for the artistic work on the face of each badge, but the latter design was in the nature of a graphic design which was in no sense something which could only exist as part of the shape of the badge. It was a design which could be applied to any other substrate and which, if so applied, would enjoy copyright protection for the infringement of which s 51 would afford no defence".

The Claimant was successful in obtaining an injunction against the Defendant to prevent him selling any further badges which he had copied. The Defendant was also ordered to pay damages to the Claimant for loss of profit, to be assessed by the Court.

Mr Henry Ward (instructed by Ahmud & Co.) appeared for the Claimant.

Mr Jeremy Reed (instructed by MD Furber & Co.) appeared for the Defendant.

Ahmud & Co. instructed by financier Mr Michael Brown [the Liberal Democrats' largest donor of £2.4 Million] on his extradition from Mallorca, Spain. The Extradition was based on 51 alleged private criminal charges brought by HSBC Bank plc and 2 alleged criminal charges brought by The Crown; in total 53 charges. Ahmud & Co. successfully defended Mr Brown on 50 of the 51 alleged private criminal charges brought by HSBC Bank plc and 1 of the 2 alleged charges brought by The Crown. Mr Brown was convicted of only 2 offences.

Mr Brown was initially represented Mr William Clegg QC and thereafter by Mr Nicholas Purnell QC and Mr Christopher Badger instructed by Ahmud & Co.

HSBC Bank plc was represented by Ms Clare Montgomery QC and Mr Julian Knowles.

Mr David Levy appeared on behalf of the CPS.

Ahmud & Co. instructed by financier Mr Michael Brown [the Liberal Democrats' largest donor of £2.4 Million] and his company, 5th Avenue Partners Limited and Others in their $56 Million dispute with HSBC Bank plc, Mr Martin Edwards [the former Chairman of Manchester United Football Club], Mr Robert Mann [a US Attorney], Mr Kevin So and Ms Lucy Liu [the Chinese cosmetics moguls].

Anglo Arabic Graphics Limited (Appellant) v Amsons Stationers (Respondent) and the National Westminster Bank plc (third party) on appeal to Mr Justice Lindsay [Chancery Division].

Ahmud & Co. was successful in a landmark decision which gave clarification to Part 72 of the CPR. Ahmud & Co. acted for the Appellant and appealed against the decision of Master Bowles against his decision to dismiss an Application for an Interim Third Party Debt Order against the Respondent's Bank, National Westminster Bank plc ("the bank"). Fourteen months before the Appellant made its Application, the Respondent had provided the Appellant with a cheque which had cleared at the Bank. When the Appellant made his Application for a Third Party Debt Order, the Master held that an Interim Third Party Debt Order could not be made where the Judgement Creditor was not able to prove by putting evidence before the Court that the Judgement Debtor, before the Application was issued, had a bank account in credit at the Bank. The Master refused the Appellant's Application on grounds that for the Appellant to simply identify a bank account with no evidence that it is in credit, the Application amounts to be being 'speculative'.

The Appellant was successful in arguing that the Application was not 'speculative' and under ordinary circumstances it would be impossible for any Judgment Creditor to have information concerning a Judgment Debtor's bank account was in credit and the Judgment given by Mr Justice Lindsay was as follows:

On a true construction of the relevant rules and practice directions, the Master's view might prevail. However, the question was not only one of construction. A number of powerful considerations militated against a strict construction, including: (i) that it was in the nature of things that in very many cases the Judgment Creditor would not have knowledge in any detailed way of who owed what sums to the Judgment Debtor; (ii) given the speed at which bank accounts could be closed or merged or have the credits therein transferred or reduced, to insist, where the third party was a banker, on cogent vidence of the Judgment Debtor's account being in credit as at the day of the Application for the Interim Order or any later day would prevent a good number of Applications by requiring a level of proof to which remarkably few creditors could aspire; and (iii) what was required at the interim stage was not whether a particular identified account was in credit or not, but whether overall the Bank was a debtor to the Judgment Debtor. Having regard to those and other considerations, there was an overwhelming argument that the Court could and should accept, as sufficient for the purposes of an Interim Third party Order, evidence in which the Judgment Creditor was not able to say more than that an account at the third party bank or building society previously existed and was previously in credit. In the circumstances, it would be appropriate to set aside the decision made by the Master in the instant case.

Generay Limited v The Containerised Storage Company and Paul Todd in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) before Lord Justice Peter Gibson, Lord Justice Neuberger and Sir Martin Nourse

Jamil Ahmud & Co. successfully represented the Appellants (The Containerised Storage Company Limited and Paul Todd) in the Court of Appeal overturning the decision of the trial judge in the Central London County Court on 8 October 2002 when the judge granted the Respondent (Generay Limited) adverse possession over land which it admitted that it had excluded itself from for a period of time for the purpose of separate Court proceedings. The three Lord Justices unanimously found the judge's conclusion was wrong and overturned his decision.

The Appellants were represented by Mr Paul Morgan QC instructed by Ahmud & Co. and the Respondent was represented by Mr George Laurence QC and Ms Claire Staddon instructed by BP Collins.

© Ahmud & Co.