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Ladbroke v William Hill

[1964] 1 All ER 465

Case summary last updated at 29/01/2020 15:20 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Ladbroke v William Hill

C, William Hill, claimed copyright in their football betting coupons; alleged D, Ladbroke, had infringed this. Question was whether coupons were an ‘original literary work’. D argued there was no copyright in the coupons, on basis that there was distinction between:
i)       preliminary work
-        i.e. deciding what to sell
-        in this case, making a decision of which bets to include
ii)     recording this work
-        i.e. deciding how to sell it
-        in this case,putting those bets on paper.
D claimed only second stage was relevant for purposes of copyright; and that so little skill was involved in recording result of the preliminary work onto paper that no copyright could subsist in it.

·        “Originality” relates to the expression of a thought.
·        To be original, no requirement for original or inventive form.
Ø  Must simply be case that work has originated from the author.
·        With regards compilations, originality is a matter of degree depending on amount of skill, judgment or labour involved in making compilation.
Constituent Parts
·        Value of work as a whole is relevant when considering originality.
·        Thusnot possible to split constituent parts of work of making coupons.
Ø  no need that preliminary work done should have as sole or even main object the preparation of a document.
Ø  Suffices that it is an object.
·        Case might be different if preliminary work was done with no intention of later writing this down.

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