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Sealegs wins High Court Copyright Judgment over design copies

by Sealegs Intl Media 15 Jul 2018 14:55 PDT 16 July 2018
Sealegs demonstrate a full range of recreational, commercial and first response amphibious RIB's at rthe Auckland On the Water Boat Show © Richard Gladwell

Sealegs International Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Future Mobility Solutions, is pleased to announce that it has been successful in the copyright infringement matter before the High Court of New Zealand.

The defendants Orion Marine Limited, Darren Leybourne, Smuggler Marine Limited, David Pringle, Stryda Marine, Vladan Zubcic and Yun Zhang aka Allen Zhang were found to have infringed on Sealegs copyright works and are liable. The Orion amphibious designs were found to be directly derived from the Sealegs design and were substantial copies/reproductions of said design – for which Sealegs International holds copyright.

In his summary, Judge Paul Davison said “I found the evidence of Mr Leybourne, Mr Zhang and Mr Zubcic lacking in credibility as regards their explanation of the development of the Orion design and their claim that they did not found the Orion design on the Sealegs pattern.”

“This was an arrangement or pattern of components that was already well known to them. What they then designed and produced in the Orion S25-4WD and S25-3WD products was a substantial copy and reproduction of the Sealegs amphibious leg pattern for both the front and rear assemblies in which Sealegs held copyright.”

The defendants are restrained by injunction from infringing on Sealegs copyright and are prevented from manufacturing, displaying, offering for sale or selling further copies of Sealegs designs whether for sale in New Zealand or any other country.

The defendants are by way of a restraining order prevented from manufacturing, displaying, offering for sale or selling the Orion S25-3WD and/or the Orion S25-4WD amphibious system either as a separate kit or installed on the hull of a craft.

A Sealegs spokesperson said "Sealegs was forced to take legal action against the defendants in order to protect its IP and the investment Sealegs has made in its unique amphibious design. We are very pleased with successfully securing this high court judgment which, as we expected, showed that the defendants had unlawfully copied the Sealegs amphibious design. The court case has been a time-consuming distraction for Sealegs and the proceedings have cost the business over $1m."

Sealegs will now pursue Orion Marine, Smuggler Marine Limited, David Pringle, Allen Zhang, Darren Leybourne, Vladan Zubcic and Stryda Marine for costs as per the court order. Sealegs will also pursue for damages arising from the sale of the Orion designs which were based on and infringed Sealegs copyright works.

Sealegs has also sought a court order that all the infringing Orion designs are to be destroyed, which will be subject to a further hearing.

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