Garage fined for copyright breach

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A garage that had used the same branding as the AA’s breakdown and repair service on a number of company vehicles and online adverts has admitted infringing copyright laws.

Denhamfields Limited, based in County Durham, had continued to use the logos even after being warned that its actions were an infringement of the AA’s intellectual property rights in its familiar yellow and black logo.

The firm was warned about the infringement on more than one occasion and in July last year AA officials had visited the garage and requested that the logos be removed.

But when they returned to the business the following month they were angry to find that the branding was still in place.

The firm’s director, Gill Robinson, had disclosed to the court that the company had recently been “closed down.” She told magistrates that having previously been asked to carry out repairs by the AA, she believed the firm was an approved repair centre.

Ms Robinson pleaded guilty to five charges on Denhamfields Limited’s behalf. The company was ordered to pay a £500 fine and £305.38 in costs.

The case serves as a reminder that, in certain circumstances, copyright infringement can result in criminal prosecution as well as liability for civil damages.One of those circumstances is where, in the course of business, and knowing that by doing so they were infringing copyright, a person or a company communicates the infringing work to the public.

For more information, please contact John Wiblin, Head of our Dispute Resolution team.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.