The clothing chain H&M face a multimillion pound pay out having lost a patent dispute with Stretchline Holdings. The judgment was handed down at the High Court on 20 November 2015.
In 2003 Stretchline acquired patented new bra technology to stop underwire from perforating its wire casing. The technology was protected by patents and sold under the brand Fortitube.
In 2009 Stretchline made various test purchases in H&M stores and found that H&M were infringing their patents by selling bras incorporating the technology without a licence. Stretchline issued proceedings in the UK and US. Mediation took pace which led to a settlement agreement between the parties.
In 2012 Stretchline found that more infringing garments were being sold by H&M and it issued proceedings alleging patent infringement and breach of the settlement agreement. H&M claimed that it did not breach the settlement agreement and that the technology used in the bras sold was not within the scope of the patent.
In the recent judgement, the High Court Judge concluded that the bras sold by H&M fell within the scope of the patent. The level of damage caused by H&M through infringing the patents is not yet clear but H&M is one of the world's biggest retailers with 3,700 stores worldwide. The technology is said to have been used in 12 of their lingerie ranges. Stretchine is entitled to an injunction, damages, costs and other remedies. We will keep you posted.
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