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Mirage Studios v Counter-Feat Clothing

[1991] F.S.R. 145

Case summary last updated at 02/02/2020 21:01 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Mirage Studios v Counter-Feat Clothing

C was a company set up to exploit marketing potential of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’. D asked for licence to use Turtles on their clothing, but was refused. D then got an artist to draw his own version of humanoid turtles which similar to C’s, which were then used on C’s clothing. Held:
·        There is arguable case of passing off
·        Misrepresentation
Ø  Substantial number of buying public believe that where a cartoon character has been reproduced, this is as result of a licence.
Ø  Thus there is a misrepresentation by D.
-        i.e. as substantial number of public will believe there is some connection between D and C.
·        Damage
Ø  Damage to C is loss of chance to obtain royalties.
Ø  Such loss of royalties may result from:
i)         Fall in market value of licence (as D’s use of character makes character less exclusive)
ii)       Loss of money caused by D’s failure to take a licence
-        i.e. as goods that could have been made under licence from C (by D or someone else) are being made elsewhere

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