Failing to Dot i's and Cross t's Leads to Court Appearance

It is often tempting to press on with things and not worry about details, but a recent case shows how much trouble can be caused when i’s are not dotted and t’s not crossed.

The High Court was asked to grant a declaration that Fresh Trading Limited, which ran the INNOCENT smoothie business, was the owner of copyright in its main brand logo.

Fresh Trading had commissioned the logo from a design agency (which subsequently went into liquidation) under a consultancy agreement.

Intellectual property rights in the logo designed pursuant to the agreement were purportedly purchased by a third party who then assigned that interest to another company. That company obtained a declaration of invalidity of Fresh Trading’s Community Trade Mark registration of the logo, based on its alleged ownership of the copyright in the logo.

The consultancy agreement was never signed and therefore the judge ruled that there had been no effective legal assignment of copyright. However, the judge did find that there had been an ‘equitable assignment’, as the agreement stated that copyright would pass to Fresh Trading as part of the design agreement.

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