ACID (Anti Copying In Design) is a membership trade organisation committed to raising awareness and encouraging respect for intellectual property rights.
Fiesta Studios is a member of ACID and Spring Fair is an ACID accredited exhibition. Held every February at the NEC in Birmingham, the Fair is billed as the UK’s number one gift and home trade event. It is organised by Ascential Events.
At the show, Fiesta Studios became aware that one of its competitors – YH Arts Ceramics – was selling tiles which depicted images for which Fiesta held the exclusive licence.
Initial requests to ask the competitor to remove the goods from the view of the public and discontinue selling them at the Spring Fair proved unsuccessful.
ACID said: ‘This left Fiesta with little choice but to press ahead with legal action [assisted by ACID’s legal affiliate, McDaniel & Co].’
During the exhibition, Fiesta Studios were able to provide evidence to YH Arts Ceramics confirming that Fiesta Studios was the exclusive licensee to the images.
McDaniel & Co senior associate IP solicitor Kelly Hudson said: “This compelling evidence proved to YH Arts Ceramics that the products they were selling were the same as Fiesta’s tiles, and countered the argument that they were independently created.
“As an exclusive licensee, Fiesta held the sole right to sell the tiles featuring these images and this gave it the right to take legal action against YH Arts Ceramics for selling the tiles without obtaining prior permission.”
Commenting on the case, ACID ceo Dids Macdonald OBE said: “The dispute was resolved following the exhibition without the need to go to court, and the outcome was a success for Fiesta Studios for three reasons.
“Fiesta Studios secured payment of compensation for the infringement, as well as its legal costs which totalled over £9,000. The competitor also undertook to destroy all the infringing goods by sending them to Fiesta Studios.”
Andy Kingston, managing director of Fiesta Studios, said: “We were supported by ACID’s on the spot presence to intervene, take action and deliver a result. This was a huge benefit to us in the protection of our intellectual property rights.”
Fiesta Studios has also taken this issue to Ascential Events and, to date, is awaiting a decision as to whether YH Arts Ceramics will be allowed to exhibit at Ascential events in the future.
ACID said: ‘Infringement is clearly against Ascential Events’ articulated policy as an ACID accredited exhibition organiser, which requires a zero tolerance of IP theft.’
L-R: Copy: ‘Evening Stroll’; Original: ‘Romantic Stroll’