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G-Star wins latest IP battle with Voi Jeans over Arc design

G-Star has won its latest IP infringement case against Rhodi, the maker of Voi Jeans.

Deputy judge of the High Court’s Chancery Division Richard Spearman has ruled in favour of G-Star’s claim that nine Voi Jeans styles were copied from its Arc Pant design, which launched in 2010 and is still on the market.

The action was brought after G-Star learned in December 2012 of the existence of Voi Jeans’ ‘Jurien’ style, which it said showed similarities to the Arc Pant. It subsequently filed a claim relating to nine separate styles of jeans marketed under the Voi brand: Bowral, Capel, Carton, Ibaraki, Jurien, Maleny, Vale, Vobar and Winton.

G-Star told the court the cut of the Arc Pant was distinctive, featuring a low crotch and straight hip with an asymmetric tapered leg, which follows the natural shape of the body. Jourica Van Der Tol, a pattern maker at G-Star and one of the designers of the Arc Pant, said it took seven months to complete the design.

Rhodi, which was represented in the High Court by law firm Kuit Steinart Levy, denied copying the Arc Pant and argued that none of the nine styles in question were “substantially the same” as their G-Star counterpart.

Rhodi said the designs were created in late 2011 by following general fashion trends in the denim market, which may explain any overlap with the Arc Pant. However, it failed to prove the designs were commonplace, and the judge ruled it had infringed G-Star’s IP rights.

It follows an initial legal claim made by G-Star in 2010, in which G-Star claimed other Voi styles including Iceman and Mavrick copied the Arc Pant. A confidential settlement followed. G-Star subsequently objected to other Voi styles, before bringing the latest action.

The case was heard in the High Court on October 29-31 and November 3, 2014. G-Star is now seeking damages and costs, and a separate hearing to consider its claims will follow later this month.

John Coldham, director of Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, representing G-Star, said: “Only one or two design right cases reach the High Court in any given year, and this year’s major design case is G-Star v Rhodi. The fact that it is the first High Court case about the designs of clothing for such a long time significantly increases its relevance to the fashion industry.”

Andy Lee, formerly of Kuit Steinart Levy, but who now represents Rhodi as senior associate Brandsmiths Solicitors, said: “This was a hard fought case. We are carefully considering the judgment and the consequences thereof including giving full consideration to the possibility of an appeal.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • well done G-Star.hope these traders who make there living from copying and VAT fraud are actually put behind bars.

    the mentality off these traders is to profit on the passion brands put in creating product and fine tuning the details which the arc pant had taken 7 months from concept to production --by buying a sample and sending to copy isnt the answer for all these cash n carry--wholesale traders.

    a brand is a brand when there is creavity and not a rip off--me too version produced at half the retail price and still avoiding VAT by flipping companys.

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  • Well done G-Star.......will there compensation be regarded as Criminal Damages.....just thought I'd give it a mention.

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  • Shame this doesn't happen more and more, the rag trade in this country is now so over-run with multiples and suppliers that don't posses a moral backbone, why would anyone start a brand? Young creatives get copied before they've got a piece of clothing in a shop. After the final nail in the coffins by the likes of Republic, USC and Bank that tried to save their businesses by copying all the best sellers they were buying from brands, or those that wouldn't supply them, all its done is buried the business that supported them in the first place. Superdry is the only brand I can think of in recent times that broke through the barrier with original designs....ok well at least the name was original, oh actually....well anyway.

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  • Voi jeans, does anyone buy this tut anymore, Sports Direct are more directional.

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  • Our son works for the above mentioned law firm and we have a massive problem with copies coming out of China using our imagery but retailing a very inferior product.
    The designs are unique to us and are now all over Ebay and AE. We don't have deep enough pockets to even touch the problem despite having expert advice in the family.
    As a niche label we have had to 'suck it up' and just move on but it's devastating when you see 2500 units sold against a listing and you didn't receive a penny of that.

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  • been blind is not a excuse for your designers to copy.

    for sure the man knows what is his weekly turnover?
    money and greed with VAT man hardest done followed by factories who deal with Rhodi Imports.

    may as well give money away if you deal with these nasty importers.

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