Oren, Tiny Love Limited v Red Box Toy Factory Limited, Red Box Toy (UK) Limited, Index Limited, Martin Yaffe International Limited, Argos Distributors Limited: PatC 1 Feb 1999

One plaintiff was the exclusive licensee of a registered design. The defendant sold articles alleged to infringe the design right. The registered owner had a statutory right to sue for infringement. But the question was whether the licensee could also sue. An exclusive licensee has some statutory rights of action (67(1) of the 1977 Act), but the exclusive licensee of a registered design has no such right. The licensee claimed that the defendant was intentionally causing him loss by the unlawful means of infringing the rights of the registered owner.
Held: The court considered the tort of interfering with contractual relations, which requires an intention to interfere, and expressly followed the approach of Peter Gibson LJ in Millar saying that the unlawful conduct must ‘in some real sense be ‘aimed at’ the contract.’
Jacob J: ‘It is true that the exploitation of the licence may not have been so successful commercially by reason of the infringement, but the contractual relations and their performance remain completely unaffected.’ and ‘the right to sue under intellectual property rights created and governed by statute [is] inherently governed by the statute concerned. Parliament in various intellectual property statutes has, in some cases, created a right to sue and in others not. In the case of the 1988 Act it expressly re-conferred the right on a copyright exclusive licensee, conferred the right on an exclusive licensee under the new form of property called an unregistered design right (see section 234) but did not create an independent right to sue on a registered design exclusive licensee. It is not for the courts to invent that which Parliament did not create.’
Jacob J
[1999] EWHC Patents 255, [1999] FSR 785
Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, Patents Act 1977 67(1)
England and Wales
View of Stuart Smith LJ approvedMillar and Others v Bassey and Another CA 26-Aug-1993
It was alleged that Miss Shirley Bassey had breached her contract with a record producer Dreampace (or with her own management company which had in turn contracted with Dreampace), as a result of which Dreampace had been unable to perform a contract . .

Cited by:
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3) CA 18-May-2005
The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others; similar HL 2-May-2007
In Douglas, the claimants said that the defendants had interfered with their contract to provide exclusive photographs of their wedding to a competing magazine, by arranging for a third party to infiltrate and take and sell unauthorised photographs. . .
CitedTotal Network Sl v Revenue and Customs HL 12-Mar-2008
The House was asked whether an action for unlawful means conspiracy was available against a participant in a missing trader intra-community, or carousel, fraud. The company appealed a finding of liability saying that the VAT Act and Regulations . .
CitedSecretary of State for Health and Another v Servier Laboratories Ltd and Others SC 2-Jul-2021
Economic tort of causing loss by unlawful means
The Court was asked whether the ‘dealing requirement’ is a constituent part of the tort of causing loss by unlawful means; whether a necessary element of the unlawful means tort is that the unlawful means should have affected the third party’s . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 July 2021; Ref: scu.136061