Assignment Question

I Stacey designs and markets home furniture using quality Indonesian timber.  Stacey trades under the business name of StaCeYY.  StaCeYY’s furniture designs are generally rather dramatic.  Her influences are Johansen Jutland and Kai Kristiansen.  Her objective is to combine function with artistic beauty.  StaCeYY always follows the same procedure.  The procedure StaCeYY always takes is as follows:

  1. StaCeYY produces a series of drawings which precisely detail the item being designed;
  2. From the drawings, she constructs the first model herself;
  3. The model is then exhibited in her showroom and online in a brochure, where customers are able to inspect it and place orders;
  4. The orders are then specially made up in StaCeYY’s workshop by her dedicated and highly skilled staff.

StaCeYY has recently designed a dining table.  The table has various features that distinguish it and are very distinct from other dining tables (including clear flaps that are different to those in the market and thicker than those in the market).  It is very attractive to the eye.

StaCeYY has just finished making the first model and it is currently on display in the showroom and in the online brochure.  The online brochure is a new development in her business.  StaCeYY has developed a logo for her business which features the words “StaCeYY” in gold letters on a silver background, which she not only uses on the online brochure but also embeds onto her furniture.  The “C” has a distinct circular shape and then a square shape around it.  To the best of her knowledge, both her logo and the circular/square shape around the “C” are unique.

Business has been slow lately; only one customer has been through the showroom since the table was first exhibited.  One of the reasons that business has been slow is because other furniture manufacturers have been stealing StaCeYY’s ideas.

Also, one particular manufacturer who she had only recently heard of, by the name of Michael, has not only created a similar logo for his business which features the words “MiChaeL”. The “C” has a distinct circular shape and then a square shape around it too.  His logo is also gold letters on a silver background. He also embeds his logo onto his furniture and more specifically, onto the dining table in question.

When StaCeYY first began her business (7 years ago), her good friend Samantha, who was studying cinematography, filmed and made film clips which she uploaded to StaCeYY’s Facebook page.  This dining table with the embedded logo was also added onto Facebook and has recently exceeded 5,000 likes on Facebook.  StaCeYY thinks that Michael may have stolen her design, ideas and logo from viewing her on Facebook. StaCeYY noticed that Michael had liked her Facebook page.

Consequently, StaCeYY has called upon you in to advise her on how best to protect the new dining table design.

StaCeYY has come to you seeking your advice as to the nature of her intellectual property rights arising from the facts above, including any she may have in respect of Samanthas films, and how best to protect them at law.  Advise her.  Comment on how those rights may be different if she had taken steps to protect her rights earlier.

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