After a 2 year battle, Seafolly has successfully sued City Beach for infringing Seafolly’s fabric designs.
City Beach was found guilty of knocking off 3 of Seafolly’s floral prints from its Summer 2010/2011 collection, after Seafolly proved that City Beach copied, or authorised the copying of, a substantial part of Seafolly’s designs (Seafolly left, City Beach right).
In coming to this decision, the court heard evidence that City Beach referred internally to their design as the “Seafolly knock off”, that samples of Seafolly’s swimsuits were used as more than just “inspiration” and that City Beach instructed its manufacturers to produce a design as close as possible to Seafolly’s. Not cool City Beach.
Despite allegations from City Beach that Seafolly took ‘inspiration’ for its prints from other sources, the court was satisfied that Seafolly had invested significant skill and labour in developing the designs and therefore they were original artistic works as defined under the Copyright Act.
Seafolly was awarded damages over $250,000 including for lost profits and damage to reputation, as well as an injunction preventing City Beach from manufacturing, selling and promoting the infringing swimwear and fabric designs.
Some tips for young designers:
- Keep records of your design process (including drawings, photos and timelines), so you can prove the design was independently developed by you.
- Do your research and don’t accept designs from third party contractors without assurances that they own the work.
Be cool and don’t steal other people’s work.