Designer was approached to design a house for a client. The client had a clear design vision and provided the designer with existing plans. The designer did a re-design using the plans provided and the house was constructed
The designer was contacted by a third party builder who have alleged a breach of copyright. They believe that the design closely resembles one of theirs and they’re seeking damages for this breach.
The builder has asked for an unspecified amount of damages as well as details of any previous projects that may infringe their copyright.
During the design process, the designer did not;
- Query the origin of the plans they were presented
Ask the client if they have approval to use the plans
The designer maintains that the breach was not intentional and stated that they had not considered copyright issues.
The designer’s claim was denied by the insurer on the basis that;
- The breach of copyright could not be seen as ‘unintentional’ as there was no attempt to avoid copyright
- Whilst the intent was not malicious, the courts hold professionals to a higher standard and precedent in copyright cases is very clear
- The conduct of the designer was reckless
The designer has appointed legal defense at their own cost and they are responding to the third party builder. The homeowner has also been served with a demand and will likely litigate the building designer for their costs and eventual damages
Uninsured costs in these cases can easily reach six figures.