In a recent decision in the Queensland Supreme Court, Coles
v Dormer & Ors (No 2)  QSC 28, homeowner Stephen
Coles was awarded a total of $70,000 in compensatory and additional
damages for copyright infringement of the building plans relating
to his home.
The factual background is that Mr Coles purchased a house with a
distinctive design at auction. A couple who were present at the
auction, the Dormers, requested that a replica of Mr Coles'
house be built nearby, within the same gated (and exclusive)
Mr Coles obtained an assignment of the copyright in the building
plans from the architect, and he then sought to prevent the Dormers
from copying his house by way of a Supreme Court injunction.
The Queensland Supreme Court at first instance found that the
copyright in the house plans had been infringed, and ordered
several remedial works to take place, including that the Dormers
remove and replace certain aspects of the house including roofs and
windows, and that certain areas of the house be filled and
concealed by rendering.
Following the completion of this remedial work, the Court
recently considered the award of damages to Mr Coles.
With respect to compensatory damages, the Court held that Mr
Coles suffered a loss of enjoyment of a "locally unique
residence", which lasted two years as that is how long it took
for the remedial work on the Dormers' house to be completed.
There was also a potential loss of the residence's value. Mr
Coles was awarded $10,000 in compensatory damages, taking into
account that the defendants had already spent $43,750 on the
The Court awarded additional damages to Mr Coles in the amount
of $60,000 in light of Mr Coles' attempts to negotiate and the
defendants' total disregard of Mr Coles' rights. The
flagrancy of the infringement, the conduct of the defendants, and
the need to deter copyright infringements of this nature were key
considerations in the award of additional damages, which, the Court
stated, needed to carry the "appropriate punitive and
This publication does not deal with every important topic or
change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute
for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of
interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice
relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Ugg boots case revolves around who holds the trade mark rights to the word 'Ugg' in relation to sheepskin boots.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).