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UK manufacturer wins multi-million pound dispute with H&M

Derbyshire-based manufacturer Stretchline Holdings has won a multi-million pound patent dispute with H&M.

The dispute concerned Stretchline’s patented technology in bras which prevents the underwire from perforating its wire casing.

The High Court passed judgement on November 20 saying the retail chain had infringed Stretchline’s patent and must pay damages and costs.

In 2003 Stretchline bought a local company, Price Shepherd, and all of its intellectual property, including the brand which stops the underwire in a bra sticking out from its wire casing.

In 2011 Stretchline discovered that H&M were selling bras which incorporated Fortitube technology, without a licence from Stretchline. Proceedings were issued in the UK and the US and the case was settled in 2011. However, in 2012 Stretchline again found infringing garments being sold by H&M and so after extensive correspondence proceedings were issued once more.

Partner at Nelsons Solicitors Nick McDonald represented Stretchline in the case.

He said: “Stretchline has been successful and the court has ruled that each of the 12 different garments it cited as infringing in its claim do indeed infringe its patent - and therefore the settlement agreement has been breached by H&M.”

H&M has not yet responded to Drapers’ request for a comment.

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