Sealegs wins copyright court case

Sealegs has won its copyright infringement court case Photo: Sealegs Sealegs has won its copyright infringement court case Photo: Sealegs

A High Court has ruled in favour of Sealegs International, finding that former employees breached copyright over the design and manufacture of amphibious kits developed by its founder, Maurice Bryham.

The New Zealand based court granted Sealegs a permanent injunction against Orion Marine, Darren Leybourne, Smuggler Marine Ltd, Yun Zhang and David Pringle and ordered that the defendants pay costs and damages.

One million dollars

Maurice told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that the court case had cost around NZ$1m. “It’s good to see that we can now proceed with cost and damages,” he said. “It’s a relief that the time, money and distraction to the business is pretty much over and that we can get back to selling Sealegs around the world.”

Sealegs, part of Future Mobility Systems, manufactures amphibious kits for installation on small boats. Maurice created the kits in 2000, which feature retractable legs enabling boats to be driven over land and into and out of water.

In 2012, Orion Marine was founded by Darren Leybourne and Yun Zhang to compete with Sealegs. The latter alleged that the defendants infringed copyright in three of Sealegs’ models, each equipped with its amphibious retractable leg system.

Unreservedly appropriated

In the decision, Justice Paul Davidson said,” I find that what the defendants did copy was a substantial part of the Sealegs copyright models by reason of their adoption and reproduction of the Sealegs arrangement or pattern of features.”

“They unreservedly appropriated it,” he added.

Sealegs also sought an order that Orion gives up its infringing products so that they may be destroyed. This request is subject to a further hearing.

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