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Exhibitor News

The Business Show

11 Dec 2023

A Stitch in Time: How Merlin, Hunter & Associates helped a clothing company protect Its designs

Merlin, Hunter & Associates Ltd Stand: B2844
A Stitch in Time: How Merlin, Hunter & Associates helped a clothing company protect Its designs

Intellectual property (IP) theft is the unauthorised use or appropriation of another person's intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

Client

A UK-based clothing company that had developed a new line of clothes. The company suspected that one of its competitors was selling knockoffs of the new line in the UK and other European markets.

Challenge

The clothing company had no concrete evidence of the competitor's theft. The designs were not registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), and the clothing company did not have any witnesses who could testify to seeing the competitor copy the designs.

Investigation

Merlin, Hunter & Associates began the investigation by reviewing the clothing company's designs and the competitor's knockoffs. The investigators then compared the two products side-by-side to identify any similarities.

The investigators discovered that the competitor's knockoffs were virtually identical to the clothing company's designs. The investigators also discovered that the competitor was using the same materials and construction techniques as the clothing company.

The investigators then conducted surveillance on the competitor's manufacturing plant in the UK and its distribution centers in other European countries. The investigators observed the competitor's employees producing knockoffs of the clothing company's dresses and shipping them to retailers throughout Europe.

The investigators also gathered evidence of the competitor selling knockoffs of the clothing company's dresses online and in its retail stores. The investigators purchased knockoffs from the competitor's website and retail stores and had them analyzed by a forensic expert. The forensic expert confirmed that the knockoffs were copies of the clothing company's designs.

Findings

Merlin, Hunter & Associates concluded that the competitor had infringed on the clothing company's intellectual property by copying the designs of the clothing company's dresses and selling knockoffs in the UK and other European markets. The investigators presented the evidence to the clothing company, which then confronted the competitor.

Outcome

The competitor admitted to copying the clothing company's designs and agreed to stop selling knockoffs in the UK and other European markets. The competitor also agreed to pay the clothing company a significant financial settlement.

Tips for Private Investigators Investigating Intellectual Property Theft in the UK Clothing Industry

Review the client's designs and the competitor's products. This will help you to identify any similarities between the two products.

Compare the two products side-by-side. This will help you to determine whether or not the competitor's products are copies of the client's designs.

Conduct surveillance on the competitor's manufacturing plant, distribution centers, and retail stores. This will help you to gather evidence of the competitor producing and selling knockoffs of the client's products.

Purchase knockoffs from the competitor's website and retail stores and have them analysed. This will help you to prove that the knockoffs are copies of the client's designs.

Interview the client's employees and customers. This will help you to gather information about the competitor's knockoffs and their impact on the client's business.

Consult with an intellectual property solicitor. This will help you to understand the legal aspects of intellectual property theft and to develop a strategy for prosecuting the case.

Merlin, Hunter & Associates can help you protect your intellectual property and to bring those responsible for intellectual property theft to justice in the UK and other countries.

Contact me at james@merlinhunter.com or call +442033406070 to schedule a consultation and discuss how we can support you.

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