Lace manufacturer obtains judgement in copyright battle against fashion retailer Reiss

Emma Ward, partner and solicitor in the intellectual property team at Nelsons Solicitors

Global lace producer Tianhai has obtained judgement in a copyright battle against high street clothing retailer Reiss – after gaining legal support from East Midlands-based Nelsons Solicitors.

High end fashion brand Reiss admitted that its Arabella dress infringed the copyright in Tianhai’s floral lace pattern, YK451. The monochrome Arabella dress, originally priced at £169, was sold in stores across the UK in 2015.

Tianhai – which was founded in 1988 and owns more than 22,500 warp knitted lace patterns – pursued a claim in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court against the fashion giant, which has now been settled for an undisclosed sum.

Emma Ward, partner and solicitor in the intellectual property team at Nelsons Solicitors – which has offices in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby – acted on behalf of the Tianhai group of companies, which is based in both China and the USA.

She says: “Tianhai invest significantly in their designs; they employ skilled designers to create high quality and unique lace patterns which are manufactured in-house and sold throughout the world. Tianhai recognise the value of the intellectual property that exist in those designs and will take all such steps as are necessary to enforce their rights, including issuing court proceedings, if that proves necessary.”

“As well as the recent case against Reiss in the UK, Tianhai has in the past brought proceedings against other retailers in France and the US, so as to enforce its copyright.”

Reiss gave undertakings to the High Court that it would not infringe Tianhai’s copyright in future in relation to the YK451 pattern. The parties then entered into a confidential settlement in relation to the compensation.

A spokesperson at Tianhai, said: “Being a global leader in lace design and innovation, we often find copies of our original designs. We will take every effort and action to protect our copyright. We hope the textile and garment industries can realise the importance of using original designs – doing so creates a better environment for suppliers and manufacturers alike.”

To speak to a member of Nelsons Solicitors’ intellectual property team, please click here or visit www.nelsonslaw.co.uk/business-agreements-contracts/intellectual-property-solicitors or call 0800 024 1976.