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If I make seven changes, does it mean I don’t infringe?


Answer: If you start with someone else’s work, even if you try to change it so that you don’t infringe, you will be running the risk of infringement.

Sometimes the number is six changes. Sometimes it’s eight changes. But regardless of the number, this is simply wrong in principle.

Taking copyright infringement as an example, the test is whether a substantial part of someone else’s work has been taken. This is a qualitative test, not a quantitative test. You might only take a very small amount, but if it goes to the heart of the work, you may still infringe.

For infringement of designs, the test is whether an article has been made exactly or substantially to the protected design (UK unregistered design right) or whether the design produces a different overall impression on the informed user to that created by the protected design (all other current design protection in the UK).

You can see, in either of these tests, making seven changes could still very easily result in infringement.

If you start with someone else’s work and try to change it so that you don’t infringe, you are running the risk of infringement.

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