You don’t normally hear about copyright disputes relating to a house, but a recent court case saw a couple ordered to pay for copyright infringement because they ignored the warnings about copying someone else’s building plans.

The cautionary tale arises from the decision in Coles v Dormer.

In this case, the Court found that substantially copying building plans and reproducing a building constituted copyright infringement.  This includes the copying and reproduction of a two dimensional design into a 3D building.

Even though the house had already been built by the time it went to Court, the copycats were still ordered to:

  1. Remove the house’s dormer roofs;
  2. Remove the exterior arched and circular windows and replace with rectangular or square windows; and
  3. Grind, cut away or remove the stone edge trim corners of the house to render them flush.

This is because the copycats chose to continue and build the house despite warnings about the significant consequences.  Indeed, they continued to build the house knowing that the court case was happening.

Homeowners, builders and architects should be wary of this, and seek legal advice to avoid painful (and often expensive) consequences.

The outcome of this recent case clearly demonstrates that intellectual property should form a significant consideration before commencing a build and that any allegations of infringement should be quickly dealt with.

Irish Bentley Lawyers have significant experience in intellectual property law.  We have been involved in a number of trademarks and copyright disputes, and we can offer you proper legal advice on how to deal with intellectual property law issues.

We have a team of specialised lawyers with a vast collective experience across all areas of intellectual property law and the most effective means of resolving any related issues.  Seeking advice about intellectual property is crucial before entering into any commercial transaction, and our extensive experience in all areas of intellectual property enables us to identify individual strategies for you or your business.

If you have a copyright issue or if you’re worried that you might have infringed copyright, please contact us today for a consultation – there is no substitute for proper legal advice based on your individual and unique circumstances.