PR: Protect your designs when selling in the US, leading copyright lawyer urges

Businesses exporting to the US should ensure they protect themselves against copyright infringement, according to a leading intellectual property expert.

Tony Catterall, Head of Intellectual Property at Taylors Solicitors in Manchester/Blackburn, says those selling designs in the US should ensure they register any big sellers with the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

He issued the warning after being invited to speak at the annual congress of IGI, the Global Wallcoverings Association in Portugal about copyright issues affecting the wallcoverings industry.

He was invited to address the conference as one of the best-known lawyers to the home furnishings industry and a leader in the field of designs and copyright.

He told members that US copyright law is favourable to plaintiffs, but only if they register before an infringement occurs. This then permits them to recover ‘statutory damages’ – which can be up to $150,000 for wilful infringement – and attorney’s fees. If the design has not been registered, any damages and fees cannot be recovered.

Mr Catterall, who specialises in copyright work for the home furnishings, textiles and software industries, said: “There are many opportunities for UK businesses wanting to export to the US but care needs to be taken to ensure you don’t leave yourself open to someone coming along and stealing your IP. Registering big sellers with the US PTO ensures your designs are protected should this happen.”

The annual congress, which took place in Albufeira, involved speakers addressing a variety of subjects concerning to the wallcovering industry.


IGI, headquartered in Belgium, is a worldwide not-for-profit organisation with the mission to help the wallcovering industry solve business problems by providing a forum for discussion.

With offices in Blackburn and Manchester, Taylors is a commercial law firm exclusively acting for company clients. The dynamic and highly experienced lawyers at Taylors are committed to providing the highest quality service through a first-hand understanding of our clients’ business priorities and specific requirements. It is a well-known advisor to companies in the UK Home Furnishings Industry.

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