Stretchline Holdings wins high court patent dispute against H&M

Councillor Nick McDonald

Nottingham’s Nelsons Solicitors have acted for Stretchline Holdings, the world’s only branded narrow fabrics manufacturer, after the international fashion brand H&M infringed the company’s patent on a piece of coveted ‘bra technology.

Partner at Nelsons Nick McDonald represented Long Eaton-based Stretchline in the case, helping the company to win the multi-million pound, multi-jurisdictional dispute against the global retail giant.

McDonald said: “Stretchline has been successful and the court has ruled that each of the 12 different garments it cited as infringing in its claim do indeed infringe its patent – and therefore the settlement agreement has been breached by H&M. We’re very pleased for Stretchline.”

The judgement was handed down at the High Court in London on Friday 20th November 2015. As a result of the decision, Stretchline is entitled to an injunction, damages, costs and other remedies, subject to any successful appeal.

Robert Glenn, head of IP at Stretchline, said: “This is an important day for Stretchline as we are, and always have been, extremely proud of our innovative technologies. It’s important to our customers that we protect our IP rights and that is all we have sought to do here.”

The dispute concerned Stretchline’s patented technology in bras. In 2003 Stretchline bought a local company called Price Shepherd and with it all of its intellectual property, including the patented brand Fortitube, a product which prevents the underwire in a bra from perforating its wire casing.

In 2011 the company discovered that H&M were selling bras that incorporated Fortitube technology without a license. The case was initially settled in 2011, but in 2012 Stretchline again found evidence that H&M were using the technology in their own products.

Stretchline, which is headquartered globally in Hong Kong, has manufacturing bases in the USA, Mexico, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia and Honduras. It develops innovative solutions for a variety of well-known global retailers and brands.