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A Big Red Bus – Copyright

From time to time I am asked by clients if they are entitled to use photographs of famous images on their packaging or on the products themselves. In some instances, the photograph is of an image such as a building, location, etc., which the client considers “generic” and should be available for use by anyone. A recent decision of the English Patents Court dealt with a claim for copyright infringement relating to photographs of London, UK tourist sites used by the parties to the action on the packaging of their respective products.

The plaintiff uses a photograph on its souvenirs of London, which has become famous in the souvenir industry and is very successful for the plaintiff. The defendant is a purveyor of teas and its tins and cartons have borne traditional English images, such as landscapes, London sites, etc. for many years. More…