Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Bruhn Newtech Ltd v Datanetex Ltd & Anor (in the Patents County Court) concerns a dispute about the ownership of intellectual property in three versions of a device (“Hazkey”) which is said to be useful in predicting hazards. The case specifically relates to the ownership of UK unregistered design rights and Community unregistered design rights in the Hazkey versions.

The facts in Bruhn Newtech Ltd v Datanetex Ltd & Anor

There was no dispute that the Hazkey product was initially designed by the second Defendant, Mr Lashbrook (who was also the director of Datanetex Ltd). Bruhn Newtech Ltd (“the Claimant”), however, asserted that it commissioned Datanetex Ltd (“the Defendant”) in November 2009 to improve the existing Hazkey platform. However, although the Claimant did not accept the Defendant’s terms and conditions in November 2009 a Purchase Order was issued for the product in January 2010. The next year an updated version of the Hazkey product was produced and a contract agreed for the manufacture and production of version 3 of the product. However, a dispute arose in April 2011 as to the ownership of the intellectual property rights in the various versions of the Hazkey product.

The law relating to ownership of UK unregistered design rights and Community unregistered design rights

With UK unregistered design rights the general rule is that the “designer” is the owner of the design rights in the work that the designer has produced. This is the case even if the designer provides to a third party a description of the product so that a working copy can be produced. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule, including when the design is produced in accordance with a commission, when the designer creates the design in the course of their employment, or the design has already been marketed in the UK.

The Patent County Court’s decision in Bruhn Newtech Ltd v Datanetex Ltd & Anor

The Patents County Court decided that the ownership of the intellectual property in the Hazkey versions resided with the Defendant. As above, the general position is that the design rights in a product vest in the “designer” (the Defendant). The Court considered that none of the exceptions applied – the product was not produced in pursuit of a commission, the design had not been produced in the course of employment, and the design had not already been marketed in the UK. Bruhn had two fallback positions, the first being that the intellectual property rights invested in the Claimant by virtue of equity and the second being that there were implied contractual terms that would vest ownership of the design rights with Bruhn. The Judge therefore considered that ownership of the design right in the Hazkey product resided with Datanetex. However, the Judge did find that Datanetex should deliver up goods that the Claimant owned.

Our specialist intellectual property lawyers’ thoughts on Bruhn Newtech Ltd v Datanetex Ltd & Anor

This case highlights how quickly the design and manufacture of a product for commercial marketing can degenerate into a legal dispute. Ownership relating to the intellectual property rights in UK unregistered design rights and Community unregistered design rights is relatively simple but can rapidly become obscured by various legal arguments – the best way to avoid such disputes is to register the design of the product.

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.76 Average

176 Reviews

Mohamed A

Super helpful and efficient, trustworthy service

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

efficient, responsive and effective

Posted 2 days ago

Andrew B

Very good service

Posted 2 days ago

Anonymous

Excellent service, compassionate and a good outcome

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 1 week ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

Posted 1 week ago

Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very good service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 months ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 2 months ago

Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago