Kohler Mira has been awarded in excess of £220,000 in damages and costs from Bristan Group, following a court ruling that Bristan had infringed Mira's unregistered designs by copying.
At the original hearing in 2013, His Honour Judge Birss QC ruled that Bristan Group had "copied the design" of Mira's Azora electric shower with Bristan's Glee, Joy and Smile products. Following the ruling the two parties were unable to reach a negotiated settlement, and so a damages hearing took place in April this year, with the decision being released on Friday 13 June.
His Honour Judge Birss QC (then of the Patents County Court) found in the original case that the similarities which existed between the three Bristan products and the Mira Azora rose "because of copying".
Craig Baker, marketing director of Mira Showers, said Mira was delighted with the award. "It unequivocally and unarguably shows that Bristan copied our products," he added, "despite its attempts last year to play down any wrong-doing. Finally, it also means that no-one should underestimate the vigour with which we will protect our designs and challenge those who infringe them."
Kohler Mira was advised by Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co's Claire O'Brien and head of IP Gordon Harris. Douglas Campbell of 3 New Square was instructed as counsel.
Following the ruling, Jason Smith, group supply chain and operations director at Bristan Group, said: "Bristan Group respects all design and Intellectual Property rights and we take original product design very seriously. All employees adhere to the highest ethical standards, and we do not copy or deliberately infringe other manufacturers' designs.
"Having now put this issue behind us, we will continue to invest in our electric shower range, and we look forward to developing and growing this part of our business. We remain focused on our strategy to launch products that are innovatively designed to make life easier for our customers."
Based on the original ruling, Bristan Group anticipated it would need to pay a royalty on some electric showers sold between 2010 and early 2013 and the company has said that the amount awarded is "in line" with the company's expectations.