As part of a ten-part BBC One documentary series ‘Northern Justice’, members of the McDaniels Law team feature with some of our clients who share their experience of others copying their products. The series explores what happens when ordinary people facing all sorts of extraordinary times in their lives turn to local lawyers in their hour of need. In the programmes that include McDaniels Law, we demonstrate how we help to protect our clients’ hard-earned intellectual property rights and stop others from infringing and benefitting from their ideas and investment.
In episode 5, we feature with our client, award-winning luxury dog bedding specialists Christine and her sister Jenny, from Charley Chau. They find themselves in a difficult situation when their unique dog bedding design work and research into washing care guidelines appear on another retailer’s website. McDaniels Law Director, Niall Head-Rapson and the team uncovers the metadata online to prove the sisters’ copyright has been breached.
In the episode, co-founder Christine Chau explains that this was one of the more serious cases of intellectual property infringement that her small, family-owned business has had to deal with, a case that the company tried everything to resolve out of court but was eventually left with no choice but to issue court proceedings with the help of McDaniels Law.
As an innovative, design-led business Charley Chau found itself to be a target of copying by unethical traders very early on after they established the business in 2010. By 2015, the co-founders were so overcome by the sheer volume and serious nature of infringements that they sought help in protecting and defending their intellectual property rights by joining A©ID® (Anti Copying in Design) and working with McDaniels Law. Niall and the team have advised and represented Charley Chau on over twenty cases of intellectual property infringement to date.
Commenting on the challenges the business has faced, Christine Chau, said:
“When we set up Charley Chau, there was no big shiny business plan, designing dog beds was just something we loved to do. Our knowledge of intellectual property didn’t extend beyond a layman’s understanding of copyright, and a vague awareness of the existence of patents and trademarks – and we had zero idea we might need to protect the IP that we were creating in Charley Chau. However, in the twelve years since founding our small business, we have faced and continue to face all manner of IP infringements from copycat products that infringe our design rights to the theft and unauthorised use of our imagery to sell fake, inferior products. We’ve even had companies copy our website site, images and code to publish on their own websites to link back to Charleychau.com to confuse customers into thinking there is some kind of official relationship between the companies when no such relationships existed.
While the business of protecting our Intellectual Property is both financially and emotionally draining, not to mention hugely distracting from focusing on running our business, it’s hugely important that we take this stance to protect both the unique designs that we bring to the market as well as to protect our customers from unethical companies selling fake Charley Chau products. McDaniels Law helps us to take a robust approach to protect our legal rights.”
Niall Head-Rapson, Director at McDaniels Law adds:
"Taking part in the BBC's Northern Justice series has been a real privilege. It is rare that the legal profession has the chance to demonstrate the invaluable help that it can provide to ordinary people and their businesses. I hope the programme encourages others in a similar position to Christine at Charley Chau to stand up and protect themselves. Fledgling businesses have enough to worry about without others benefitting from their hard-earned intellectual property. As a dedicated and experienced team of specialist intellectual property lawyers, I am proud of the work my colleagues are doing for our clients, ranging from start-ups to large corporates and PLCs across the UK and beyond.”
The episode is available on BBC iPlayer here.
If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law. on 0191 281 4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org: Case Law, Copyright, Digital/Tech, Legal News, News