Women’s fashion chain, Review, decided to roadtest the new law and sued three companies for allegedly copying one of their dress designs. In the Review cases, the Court found that two of the defendants had infringed Review’s design of a sleeveless cross-over dress (see above image). While the Court did not award Review damages for lost sales (on the basis that that women who bought the copy dresses were unlikely to have bought the more expensive Review dresses in any case) it did award compensation for damage to its reputation for originality - us ladies hate to see a copy of their latest designer purchase for sale at less than half the price.
Review was awarded damages of AU$17,500 in one case and AU$85,000 in the other. However, the deterrent effect on other would-be copiers is probably worth many times these amounts to Review. Lisa has heard that other designers are starting to take notice and she is aware of another designer who is considering similar action in relation to a discount copy of her dress design.
Fashionista would be interested to hear from its readers about their experiences of enforcing their rights in Australia - are they now more likely to take Court action under the new system?