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Monday 15 September 2014

Dunnes faces huge legal bill over Karen Millen battle

Tim Healy

Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30

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Dunnes Stores
Dunnes Stores
The Dunnes Store shirt, left, and the Karen Millen shirt, right.
The Dunnes Store shirt, left, and the Karen Millen shirt, right.

Dunnes Stores faces a substantial legal bill after a battle between the firm and British fashion company Karen Millen – over the copying of clothing designs – was finally concluded.

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The Supreme Court dis-missed Dunnes' appeal yesterday against a High Court decision in the case.

The dismissal order, and a costs order against Dunnes, was made by the Supreme Court yesterday in the light of a ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last month which rejected key arguments made by Dunnes Stores.

Mr Justice John Murray, presiding, told lawyers for parties the court would give reasons for the dismissal in a written judgment later.

A number of questions had been referred to the ECJ by the Supreme Court concerning interpretation of EU regul- ations.

In the High Court in 2008, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan ruled that Dunnes, in offering for sale a black knit top and blue and brown shirts, infringed Karen Millen's rights to unregistered community design under a European Council regulation in the three designs.

Dunnes appealed to the Supreme Court where it argued Karen Millen had failed to prove the individual character of the designs at issue.

In its judgment, the ECJ said Karen Millen had put the shirt and top on sale in 2005 and the items were purchased by representatives of Dunnes Stores.

"Dunnes subsequently had copies of the garments manufactured outside Ireland and put them on sale in its Irish stores in late 2006," it said.

Irish Independent

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