No doubt there will be some discussion in the pubs and clubs of Holborn as to which of the light fittings displayed above is the cool one, but they won't get a judicial ruling on that question. What might otherwise have gone down in history as Astro Lighting v Homebase is now, er, history since the parties settled. News of this comes from ACID, in the form of a press release that informs us as follows:
"Leading lighting designers and manufacturers Astro Lighting were disappointed to discover that Homebase [with 342 stores in the UK and Ireland and sales of £1.57 billion in 2009-10] were selling a light fighting which appeared to be remarkably similar to their Amalfi light fitting. Following a letter before action the matter settled with Homebase giving an undertaking not to infringe further, pay a 5% royalty on sales made and pay Astro Lighting's legal costs.The Code of Conduct reads thus:
Niall Head-Rapson from ACID accredited law firm McDaniel & Co. said, “The legal challenge was made much more straightforward because Astro had obtained a Registered Community Design (RCD) which means that they have protection for 25 years in 27 member states”. ...
Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO added:
“It is good that Homebase settled quickly and I shall be writing to them to invite them to be signatories to the voluntary ACID Code of Conduct for Retailers, which is accompanied by guidelines for buyers to help them avoid inadvertently infringing designs in the future. This is part of a Government endorsed campaign to work positively with major retailers, which launched on World Intellectual Property Day 2012”.
"PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT
Retailers shall promote and maintain ethical standards of conduct within their buying departments and, at all times, deal fairly and honestly with the public and with the business community.Only three retailers have signed up to this voluntary code so far: Selfridges & Co, Next and John Lewis. This blogger wonders what is preventing other retailers from doing so.
Retailers shall ensure that so far as is reasonably possible the products which they sell conform with all relevant laws and regulations and that their employees, agents and buying departments are fully aware of all such laws and regulations.
Retailers will not deliberately or knowingly sell a copy of a design of another company or business. Nor will they authorise another company or business to manufacture a copy of a design of another company or business.
Retailers (or their buying departments) will not engage in any act or practice which takes unfair advantage of or is detrimental to the distinctive character or repute of the appearance of the whole or part of a product".