Allen v Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Another: ChD 14 Oct 2010

The claimant sought damages alleging breach of copyright by the defendant author saying she had copied large parts of the claimant’s work in her book ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’. The defendant now sought summary judgment, saying the action was bound to fail.
Held: The summary procedure is designed for cases which are not suitable for trial. Complex cases are unlikely to be capable of being resolved without conducting a mini-trial on the documents, without disclosure and without oral evidence and, if so, they are not suitable for summary determination. There remained several areas of real factual and expert disagreement, and the defendants had not established that the claimant himself had no real prospect of establishing a case of infringement. The elements said to have been copied seemed to fall on the ideas side of the dividing line. Though his prospects might not be good, they could not nevertheless be dismissed. It was appropriate however to make a conditional order for security for costs.

Kitchin J
[2010] EWHC 2560 (Ch), [2010] ECDR 16
England and Wales
CitedDesigners Guild Ltd v Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd (Trading As Washington DC) HL 28-Nov-2000
Copyright Claim: Was it Copied, and How Much?
The claimant sought to enforce its copyright in artwork for a fabric design Ixia, saying the defendant’s design Marguerite infringed that copyright. Two issues faced the House. Just what had been copied and if any, then did this amount amount to the . .
CitedCelador Productions Ltd v Melville ChD 21-Oct-2004
The applicants each alleged breach of copyright and misuse of confidential information in the format of the television program ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’. The defendant appealed a refusal to strike out the claim. It was not contended that no . .
CitedDoncaster Pharmaceuticals Group Ltd and Others v The Bolton Pharmaceutical Company 100 Ltd CA 26-May-2006
Appeals were made against interlocutory injunctions for alleged trade mark infringement.
Held: The court should hesitate about making a final decision for summary judgment without a trial, even where there is no obvious conflict of fact at the . .
CitedBaigent and Another v The Random House Group Ltd CA 28-Mar-2007
The claimants appealed against a decision that the defendant’s book, the Da Vinci Code, had not infringed their copyright. The judge had found some copying, but not so much that a substantial part had been copied.
Held: Mummery LJ said: ‘In . .
CitedMentmore International Ltd and Others v Abbey Healthcare (Festival) Ltd and Another CA 7-Jul-2010
On an application for summary judgment the court must consider whether the case has a real as opposed to a fanciful prospect of success. . .
CitedLadbroke (Football) Ltd v William Hill (Football) Ltd HL 1964
What is substantial copying
The plaintiff alleged copying of their football pools coupons and copyright infringement. The issues were as to the extent of copying required to establish infringement, and whether it was proper to look at the several parts of the work separately. . .
CitedSAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd ChD 23-Jul-2010
The court considered the impact of the distinction drawn by Article 9(2) of TRIPS and Article 2 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty between ‘expressions’ and ‘ideas, procedures, methods of operation and mathematical concepts as such’ on domestic copyright . .
CitedOlakunle O Olatawura v Alexander O Abiloye CA 17-Jul-2002
The claimant challenged an order requiring him to give security for costs before proceeding. The judge had felt he was unreasonable in the way he was pursuing his claim. He appealed saying the order was made outside the scope of Part 25.
Held: . .

Cited by:
See AlsoAllen v Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Another ChD 18-Mar-2011
Further applications in defendant’s application for summary judgment and or security for costs in the claimant’s claim alleging copyright infringement.
Held: The claimant was ordered to pay a sum of andpound;50,000 as security for costs.
See AlsoAllen v Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd and Another CA 14-Jul-2011
The claimant appealed against an order requiring him to deposit a substantial sum as security for costs for the bringing of his action for copyright infringement in respect of the Harry Potter series of books.
Held: The appeal failed. The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property, Litigation Practice

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.425356