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Iconic Ice Cream Van Design Rights Infringed

A family company which for over 50 years has led the field in the manufacture of ice cream vans has won the right to substantial compensation after convincing the High Court that a rival business blatantly copied the design of its best-selling vehicle.

Company A had for many years produced ice cream vans to a design which was familiar to millions on the nation’s streets. It had produced overwhelming evidence that company B had used moulding techniques to copy the appearance, as well as many of the mechanical features, of its iconic vehicles.

Although there was a ‘considerable similarity’ between ice cream vans produced by various manufacturers, the Court found that company B’s vehicles were ‘very similar’ and gave ‘the same overall impression’ as company A’s. The former vans infringed company A’s design rights in all respects apart from the base frame. The moulding process had also resulted in breaches of company A’s distinctive trade mark.

The ruling opened the way for company A to seek either damages or an account of profits yielded from the sale of infringing vehicles. The brothers who ran company B, and to a lesser extent their father, were found personally liable, along with the company, for various acts of infringement.