Burberry defeats Zebra in Supreme Court ruling
On January 27 2009 the Supreme Court issued its final ruling in a dispute between UK company Burberry and Zebra A/S, which operates a number of TIGER stores in Scandinavia. The TIGER stores sell a wide variety of gift items and household articles at low prices (DKK10 to DKK20 per item). Zebra sold wallets (picture 1) with a pattern bearing close resemblance to the well-known Burberry check pattern (picture 2) in the stores for DKK20. Zebra acknowledged that the wallets infringed upon Burberry's well-known pattern; thus, it was for the court to decide the amount of damages applicable.
Picture 1 - An example of Zebra's wallets
Picture 2 - An example of Burberry's wallets
The Supreme Court ruled that Burberry’s wallets, which were sold at a price of approximately DKK2,000, were exclusive high-end products, in contrast to the cheap wallets which were sold by TIGER at a price of DKK20. The two products had different end users and it was unlikely that sale of the cheap wallets could substitute for the sale of the exclusive high-end products. Burberry was unable to show that it had suffered any economic loss as a result of the infringement; hence, no damages could be awarded.
However, the Supreme Court did find that Burberry was entitled to compensation in the form of royalties, and that the amount should be measured against TIGER’s sales of the infringing wallets, which amounted to DKK 340,000. Since the sales had taken place on a large scale, they had caused Burberry market disturbance estimated at DKK100,000.
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