This article was first featured in Drapers 8 December, 2014

SuperGroup’s wholesale arm DKH Retail has won a design infringement case against Animal parent company H Young for copying the design of Superdry’s Academy gilet.

The two-day trial in the High Court, which ended today (December 8), has been running since 2013 and centres on the infringement of specific design features of the Superdry gilet, which includes a detachable grey jersey hood, a wide drawstring and a storm flap that sits over the buttons.

The judge ruled that the detachable hood on the gilet, which was designed in 2009 by Superdry co-founder James Holder, was “not commonplace” at the time of its creation and so Animal’s Glaisdale version breached UK and EU design infringement laws.

H Young admitted its gilet was designed “by reference to” the Superdry version.

The judge said: “DKH’s design influenced H Young to some degree. I think the burden on DKH to show there was copying, somewhere on the scale from negligible to enough for infringement, has been satisfied by that admission.”

The Animal owner must pay DKH Retail’s legal costs and a yet-to-be-decided fee for damages.

Euan Sutherland, chief executive of SuperGroup, said: “This is a victory for original creativity which is the epitome of what makes Superdry a successful British brand.  It is also a lesson to infringers that we are prepared to fight to protect our IP rights.”

Simon Bennett, partner at law firm Fox Williams, which acted on behalf of SuperGroup, said: “Design is so important in terms of protection. In Europe, unregistered rights last three years, whereas in the UK they last 10 years, which is good for UK trading companies.”

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