Caprice wins two-year legal fight with Kylie Minogue after brands clash over design allegations

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Caprice Bourret and Kylie Minogue
A company owned by Caprice (left) has seen off a legal copyright challenge from a brand fronted by Kylie Minogue (photo by Raph_PH).

Popstar Kylie Minogue’s homeware brand has failed in a High Court bit to prove a firm owned by former supermodel Caprice Bourret copied one of its designs.

Kylie Minogue At Home – part of the Ashley Wilde Group, which also includes ranges by the likes of Agent Provocateur, Karl Lagerfeld and Ted Baker – had accused By Caprice (BCPL) of duplicating a bed linen design.

The High Court heard allegations from Ashley Wilde that the rival firm’s Amore range had infringed copyright of its Evangeline design by virtue of the fact that both linen sets featured scallop-style pleats in repeating horizontal rows.

Both parties accepted that the Evangeline range had been on sale in the UK for three years prior to the launch of the Amore design in 2017 – leading to Ashley Wilde’s assertion that BCPL’s designer ‘had access to it and copied it’.

However, the two-year legal dispute came to an end this week when Her Honour Judge Melissa Clarke, sitting in the High Court, ruled against Ashley Wilde.

The Amore design from By Caprice (left) and Kylie Minogue At Home’s Evangeline design – the differences are ‘extensive’, the High Court has ruled.

Ms Bourret was among those who gave evidence as part of the proceedings, and earned praise from the judge for her ‘honest’ evidence and for being ‘a credible and reliable witness’.

She told the court she recalled personally approving the design in question after conversations with their designer and the supply of physical samples from their Chinese manufacturing team.

Judge Clarke considered evidence from design experts representing both companies, and assessed design trends across the industry at that time.

Her ruling said: “I accept evidence that scallops, pleats and scalloped pleats have been widely used in textiles for centuries.

“I also accept BCPL’s evidence that the use of scallops and knife pleats was having ‘a moment’ in the fashion and interior design industries in early 2016. The combination of scallops and pleats was well known in high fashion, as can be seen in couture collections a few years earlier.

“I do not consider that those similarities are sufficiently close, numerous or extensive to be more likely the result of copying than coincidence, and I decline to draw an inference of copying from them.

“If I then cast my mind over the differences I have identified which are extensive and, I consider, material, I consider they do indicate an independent source and so rebut any inference of copying.

“That is sufficient to dispose of the claim.”

Ms Bourret launched her By Caprice range in 2006, initially as a lingerie range, but has since expanded its product range into bedding and homeware.

The company now says bedding is its ‘ultimate focus’, and its ranges are sold across the globe and stocked by big brands such as Next, Dunelm, Grattans/Freemans and Wayfair.

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