Bristan ordered to pay Mira £200,000 damages

18 Jun, 14

Kohler Mira awarded in excess of £200,000 following design infringement

Kohler Mira has been awarded in excess of £200,000 in damages and costs from the Bristan group, following infringement of Mira’s unregistered designs.

Judgement that Bristan Group copied the design of Mira’s Azora electric shower with its Glee, Joy and Smile products was delivered in 2013.

At the original hearing, His Honour Judge Birss QC of the Patents County Court found that the similarities which existed between the three Bristan products and the Mira Azora arose “because of copying”.

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Although Bristan did not infringe registered design rights, it was found to have infringed the remaining unregistered design rights.

As both parties were unable to reach a negotiated settlement, a damages hearing took place in April with the decision released on Friday, June 13.

The Bristan Group indicated the company antcipated the need to pay royalties on some electric showers manufactured between 2010 and early 2013. And it stated the figure of a minimum of £200,000 was in line with the company’s expectations. The designs of its electric shower products have since changed and not been on the market since January 2013. 

Commenting on the damages enquiry, Jason Smith, group supply chain and operations director at Bristan Group, said: “Bristan Group respects all design and Intellectual Property rights and we take original product design very seriously. All employees adhere to the highest ethical standards, and we do not copy or deliberately infringe other manufacturers’ designs.

“Having now put this issue behind us, we will continue to invest in our electric shower range, and we look forward to developing and growing this part of our business. We remain focused on our strategy to launch products that are innovatively designed to make life easier for our customers.”

Marketing director of Mira Showers, Craig Baker said of the damages: “Obviously we are delighted with this award for a number of reasons. Firstly, it unequivocally and unarguably shows that Bristan copied our products – despite its hair-splitting attempts last year to play down any wrong-doing and sow doubt about the case. “Secondly it confirms our position as the most innovative and design-led manufacturer in the sector – and the manufacturer with the products that less imaginative or resourceful companies can but envy.

“Finally, it also means that no-one should underestimate the vigour with which we will protect our designs and challenge those who infringe them.” This is the second time Kohler Mira has successfully asserted its intellectual property rights relating to Azora. The last occasion was in 2010 when it reached an out-of-court settlement with Triton.