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IP team protects client’s drain cover lifter innovation


A successful outcome for our IP team

We have successfully represented East Yorkshire construction products company PWM (Sales) in a copyright infringement claim in which a former customer and distributor was using copies of PWM’s user manual in the marketing and selling of its own version of one of the company’s products. 

Based in Snaith, PWM supplies a wide range of products for industrial flooring as well as being the manufacturer of the Manhole Buddy – a foldable, magnetic manhole and drain lifting device, designed for use by a single operator and favoured by companies in the utilities sector.

PWM discovered that Wiltshire company Jetting Systems Ltd had used its knowledge as a former distributor of the Manhole Buddy to develop and market its own competing product, infringing PWM’s copyright by copying the user manual for PWM’s Manhole Buddy and distributing the infringing copy manual with its product. 

Clarion was instructed by PWM to take action against Jetting Systems, which proved successful.  It resulted in Jetting Systems withdrawing its infringing manual, destroying all copies of it and undertaking not to produce or distribute further copies in the future.  Jetting Systems also paid a substantial sum to PWM in damages and legal costs.

Managing director of PWM, Paul Welburn, stated: “The Manhole Buddy is an innovative product which has rightly developed a great reputation amongst our customers over the last few years as a result of its ease of use, the fact that it enables a lone operator to remove heavy metal covers safely, and its compact folding design. 

“We were most concerned, therefore, to learn that our former customer and distributor had copied our Manhole Buddy user manual and the know-how we had built up which was contained within it in it in order to produce its own for use in the marketing and supply of its competing product.  We felt we had no choice, but to take this action to protect our product and our position in the marketplace.  I am pleased with the outcome which vindicates the action we have taken.”

Clarion intellectual property partner Leigh Martin, who headed up the team which took the successful action for PWM, added: “It is always satisfying to be able to help clients to take effective action and achieve the outcome they desire when their valuable IP rights have been infringed by third parties.   This case was particularly pleasing due to the swiftness of the result and the fact that our client recovered all of its legal costs and damages on top, as well, of course, as putting an end to the infringement.”

Clarion’s IP practice has a diverse client base from multinationals to SMEs across a range of industries.  It encompasses all aspects of intellectual property law, including the identification, protection and commercial exploitation of intellectual property, as well as litigation and the resolution of intellectual property disputes.  The department’s areas of expertise cover patents, designs, trade marks, passing off, copyright and the protection of confidential information.

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Photography: From left, managing director of PWM, Paul Welburn and Clarion intellectual property partner Leigh Martin.

For further information please contact:

Susan Reid at Appeal PR on 01423 569 999

or email susan@appealpr.com