A UK retailing group has won its landmark action against Dunnes Stores. The Commercial Court found this morning that Dunnes had infringed the design rights of Karen Millen by copying and selling a Karen Millen jumper and two Karen Millen shirts.
Karen Millen is part of the Mosaic Fashions Group. Two other brands in the group, Coast and Whistles, are also taking similar actions against Dunnes. They had been deferred until after this ruling.
The case was the first case in Ireland to be taken under the Community Unregistered Design regulation which came into effect across the EU in 2002. It was also the first such case involving clothes to be taken in Europe.
Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan found that Karen Millen's designs had a new and individual character and would create a different overall impression on an informed user than designs that had been on sale in previous years.
She rejected an argument by Dunnes Stores that the Karen Millen designs were common and did not deserve protection under the Community Unregistered Design Right.
Karen Millen is not looking for damages from Dunnes but is seeking an account of the profits made by Dunnes from selling the clothes. In a statement, Mosaic Fashions said it would give a substantial donation to the Marie Keating Foundation once it recovered any money.
The case has been adjourned until January 18 to deal with the issues of costs and the account of profits.