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Littlewoods embroiled in legal wrangle over Christmas jumper

Littlewoods is being sued by an Irish etailer for allegedly copying a design on a Christmas jumper featuring a snowman and Christmas trees.

Zatori Results, which is based in Portlaoise and sells clothing, trophies and costumes through a range of websites, has claimed that Littlewoods has allegedly breached its intellectual property rights by selling a Christmas jumper with an almost identical design to one Zatori first started selling last year.

According to The Irish Times, Zatori said the alleged copying of its Christmas jumpers had led to sales of the jumper diving by 75% compared to last year. The jumper has been removed from Littlewoods’ website.

The newspaper said the etailer has launched High Court proceedings against Shop Direct Ireland, which trades as Littlewoods Ireland, and its UK-based parent Shop Direct UK.

Zatori is reportedly seeking an injunction preventing Littlewoods from further continuing to sell the jumper. It is also said to be claiming damages for alleged infringement of its unregistered design rights. Zatori declined to comment.

The matter will return to the High Court next week.

Sarah Byrt, intellectual property partner at law firm Mayer Brown, said: “Zatori is said to be relying on unregistered design right, the EU-wide right that lasts for just three years and helps the fashion world and other sectors protect seasonal designs which don’t need the extra cost involved in getting a registration. 

“Since the Littlewoods jumper apparently doesn’t include the moon and reindeer-drawn sleigh, which also feature in the Zatori design, Zatori will have to show that its rights are nevertheless being infringed by arguing that the Littlewoods jumper gives the same ‘overall impression’ on the ‘informed user’.”   

Shop Direct Ireland declined to comment.

Littlewoods is the latest retailer to become embroiled in a legal wrangle over copyright design. Karen Millen and Irish retailer Dunnes Stores remain involved in a design right infringement which is set to conclude at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) within the next two years.

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