High street conglomerate Hennes & Mauritz and budget chain Primark are locked in a legal battle after the Swedish retailer alleged its styles had been copied. Primark, according to H&M, has copied motifs, prints and designs used on fashions ranging from shirts and dresses to a baby’s sleepsuit, the company has stated.
It is suing for damages in one of the first major cases after a landmark judgment last year in which the courts encouraged designers to use new European rules protecting designers’ rights not to be copied. H&M claims Primark copied a Chinese-style dragon and flame pattern, a target-style design, a graffiti pattern, a Petrol Club-branded badge design and a floral print.
Most accusations of plagiarism in fashion are settled before lawsuits are filed, but a number of cases are now expected as big designers head to the courts to try their luck under the new laws. A limited amount of copying is accepted in the fashion world as, by its very nature, a look becomes trendy when lots of people wear it. But designers do sometimes take umbrage when they feel a rival’s copying is hurting their sales.