Upstart surf brand Ghanda is suing giant retailer Cotton On over designs it says were snatched up using stock images from the internet.
- Ghanda sues SuprÃ©’s parent company Cotton On for copying designs
- Cotton It is claimed that Ghanda himself may have copied some models
- The case is expected to be heard at the end of next year
In a flurry of claims and counterclaims, the two brands met today for a first case management hearing before Federal Court Judge Helen Rofe.
“This debate really arises between the parties because my client saw 20 to 30 works that were at SuprÃ© (a brand operated by Cotton On) that took off from my client’s work,” argued Ghanda’s lawyer, Tom Cordiner. .
“What SuprÃ© had done was see what my client had done and then try to find and successfully find stock images and Shutterstock images andâ¦ tried to do what Ghanda had done.”
Lawyer for the smaller brand, Mr Cordiner, told Federal Court it was “a flood of copies” the majority of which did not break the law.
But there are counterclaims from the largest retailer, as the judge noted.
âYou say they are sailing close to the wind, but their case seems to be that you are sailing close to the wind and making copies,â Judge Rofe said.
Cotton On dominant
Cotton On is one of the most visible retailers in Australia.
It opened its first store in Geelong in 1991 and has since expanded globally to include more than 1,300 stores in 22 countries. It has eight brands including Typo and SuprÃ©.
Appearing for the retailer, Peter Creighton-Savoy said in late 2020 that Ghanda accused Cotton On of copyright and trademark infringement and that court proceedings required him to disclose confidential files and design processes.
He accused the small retailer of injustice by wanting documents relating to one aspect, but not wanting to share them in another.
The “core of the dispute seems to be that there should be no disclosure on the claim” and only the counterclaim, he said.
Originally, a trial date of March 2023 was raised due to Cotton On’s attorney being busy in December.
This led to Ghanda’s attorney, Mr Cordiner, to complain that “my client doesn’t really want to continue this year if at all possible”.
After some juggling, a six-day trial is set for November 21, 2022.
Cotton On and Ghanda have been contacted for comment.