Jimmy chews New Look over shoes

United Kingdom

One of the United Kingdom's leading fashion retailers, New Look, has withdrawn more than 1,000 pairs of its Bonbon shoes from sale following a claim by Jimmy Choo, the well-known shoe and accessory designer, for infringement of design rights. New Look has also agreed an out of court settlement, which includes a payment to Jimmy Choo of £80,000.

This case is typical of the recent increase in actions brought by design companies and retailers against other high street retailers, particularly in the fashion sector. The introduction of significantly improved protection for almost all new two-dimensional and three-dimensional designs through the new registered and unregistered Community design laws (see Community Design Regulations 2005 implemented) has given all design businesses effective enforcement powers.

These laws provide protection in all 25 member states of the European Union. In particular, they now enable the prevention of any use of a design that gives the same overall impression to the informed user as the original design. Further, it is no longer a defence under these laws for a retailer to claim that it did not know or have reason to believe that it was selling an infringing copy.

For further background to UK protection for designs, see IP enforcement regulations come into force, Design regulatory reform order is imminent and Design law derogation acceptable under secondary legislation.

Simon Clark, Berwin Leighton Paisner, London.

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