Home > Reading Room > Threats in Design Law, the Objective Test

Threats in Design Law, the Objective Test

Written by Jane Coyle on 12 February 2008

« Return to Reading Room

A threat is to be tested objectively and is made if what is communicated is understood by the ordinary recipient as being a threat of infringement proceedings (Brain v Ingledew Brown Bennington & Garrett (No.3) [1997] FSR 511). A threat may be made orally or in writing and it can be express as well as implied. (Bowden Controls Ltd v Acco Cable Controls Ltd [1990] RPC 427, a patent case, which was approved by the Court of Appeal in Scandecor Development Aktiebolag v Scandecor Marketing Aktiebolag [1990] RPC 427, a trade mark case). It must be read in the context of the correspondence or series of communications as a whole. A document which is not threatening in isolation may well be threatening when read in context (Brain v Ingledew (No. 3)). However, when a threat has been made in a letter, it is not possible to re-construe the letter in the light of subsequent correspondence so that it no longer constitutes a threat (Prince v Prince). The meaning of an actionable threat was considered by the High Court in the context of the Community Design Regulations 2005 in Quads4Kids v Colin Campbell). The judge held that the design owner's use of a system which allowed the owner to assert his ownership of intellectual property rights, and led to the removal of a seller's listing from a website, amounted to an arguable actionable threat under the Community Design Regulations 2005.

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Unknown quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

Want to speak
to someone?

Complete the form below and we’ll call you back free of charge.

Visual Captcha