As global interest for the show increased so did the demand for the jumper as worn by actress Sofie Gråbøl. However as with other success stories various people have sought to cash in on the show’s success and copies of the jumper began to spring up.
So much so that to prevent other designers cashing in the Faroese designers of the original sweater, Gudrun & Gudrun, took legal action against Danish company Stof og Sy, which had made a cheaper copy. It was argued that they had violated copyright law. However, apparently, a court has declined to support the designer of the jumper. It has according to reports, ruled that Stof og Sy can continue selling similar jumpers. Lene Langballe of Stof og Sy, claimed that the fabric, pattern and sewing is hundreds of years old and that their version did not violate any copyright laws.
As often is the case the alleged copy sold for £40; the orignal £240!
Two main courses of action would have been available in the UK. Namely unregistered design right (UDR) and/a claim for infringement of artistic copyright. However the best course of action for a design like this would have been under the European unregistered design right as referred to under Article 3(a) of Council Regulation 6/2002 on Community designs.
This Article defines a design “the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation” (Art. 3).
The jumper would be capable of protection if
• it is novel, ie there is no identical design which has been made available to the public;
• it has individual character, ie that the “informed user” would find it different from other designs which are available to the public.
So you can see that if the design had been made available for hundreds of years then its impossible to protect. So sorry Sarah – get back to doing what you best and solve crime!