A luxury home textiles company advised by commercial law firm Taylors Solicitors has successfully seen off a copyright infringement claim from a minority shareholder who is a well-known fabric designer.

Copyright specialist Tony Catterall led the Taylors team who acted for Arley House in defending proceedings issued by Barry Ward in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.

Barry alleged that he owned more than 60 designs that he created for Arley House, and that the company had no right to use them.

Taylors says it secured a wholly favourable outcome for Arley House within just three months of being instructed.

Following service of a robust defence and counterclaim by Taylors, Barry accepted that copyright in the six bestselling designs was owned outright by Arley House and that it had a perpetual, royalty-free licence to make and sell the rest of the designs that Barry had created for the company.

As part of the arrangement, Barry also agreed to transfer his minority shareholding in Arley House to its MD, Adrian Tratalos.

Arley House is an independent, boutique design house which specialises in creating luxury fabric designs for the commercial and residential markets.

Tony Catterall says: “We are very pleased that our advice to stand up to Mr Ward and fight this claim was fully justified. We were instructed after other solicitors advised that the company had a weak case.

“This ownership issue is a problem that we have successfully addressed for clients on a number of occasions, including the leading authority on ownership of commissioned copyright, Clearsprings Management Limited v BusinessLinx Limited, a case where the copyright was computer software.”

Adrian Tratalos says: “We have achieved a result that goes well beyond our initial expectations and we are delighted with the outcome, which enables us to continue marketing many of our successful designs that had been put in jeopardy by the claimant’s unfounded allegations in these proceedings."

The case follows a successful outcome for Taylors Solicitors in a recent copyright infringement claim brought on behalf of Portfolio Home, a home textiles supplier based in Denton, Greater Manchester.

Taylors is the only North West law firm to be appointed as a legal affiliate of ACID (Anti Copying in Design), a trade association for manufacturers and designers.

Pictured: one of the designs to which Barry Ward conceded copyright