In recent years copies of designer furniture have been sold in Scandinavia by companies based in countries (eg, the United Kingdom) where such furniture can be produced legally. A Danish individual can legally order, for example, a copy of a famous designer chair from the United Kingdom over the Internet and import it to Denmark, provided that the chair is for personal use and not resale.
One such designer chair often copied is the CORONA chair, designed by Danish designer Poul M Volther in 1964. The original chair (picture 1) sells for a price of approximately Dkr30,000.
However, a copy (picture 2) can be bought from the United Kingdom for approximately Dkr8,000. (For pictures of chairs, please see original document).
A Danish company spotted a business opportunity and began selling copies of the CORONA chair by online auction. These copies were produced in China.
The Danish producer of the CORONA chair, Erik Jørgensens Møbelfabrik A/S, sued the Danish company. During the case expert declarations were obtained to show that the CORONA chair was indeed a work of art protected by the Copyrights Act. The Maritime and Commercial Court confirmed that the sale of the copies in Denmark constituted copyright infringement and ordered that the copies be destroyed. The importer was ordered to pay damages in the amount of Dkr300,000 and costs to the plaintiff.
Danish individuals can still legally import copies of the CORONA chair if the chairs are produced and purchased in a country where the original chair is not protected by copyright (eg, the United Kingdom). However, the ruling establishes that a Danish company cannot make a profit out of selling copies in Denmark.
This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com