Usher v Barlow: CA 1952

A wall plaque was published before 1950. Its design was an original artistic work but was produced for the purpose of reproduction by an industrial process. It was not registered as an industrial design under the applicable designs legislation because the Comptroller of the Patents Office would not register wall plaques as designs under the Patents and Designs Acts 1907 to 1919. The 1949 Act came into effect on Jan 1 1950. The Board of Trade made rules under that Act which came into operation on 2 January 1950. By rule 26 wall plaques were excluded from registration as designs under the Act. The rules were made pursuant to section 1(4) of the Act which empowered the Board of Trade to make rules excluding from registration, designs for articles which were literary or artistic in character.
Held: The judgment at first instance was upheld.
The reference in s. 22 of the 1911 Copyright Act to the Patents and Designs Acts 1907 to 1919 was ambulatory, and, after the coming into operation of the 1949 Act, to be read as a reference to the 1949 Act. It followed that copyright in the wall plaque subsisted because the 1949 Act and the rules made thereunder prevented the registration of the plaque as a design. It was not then capable of registration.
Lord Evershed MR said that section 37 of the 1889 Act extended to something more than that which was requisite to enable the Act to come into operation at all: it covered such steps as would be required to enable the Act to operate effectively.
Jenkins LJ, with whose judgment Morris LJ agreed, observed that ‘operation’ was used in section 37 in two different senses, namely the sense in which it appeared in the definition of ‘commencement’ and the sense of ‘effective operation’. The section should be construed as extending to whatever was necessary or expedient for the purpose of bringing the Act into effective operation, in the second sense, at the time when it came into operation, in the first sense.
Lord Eversed MR, Jenkins, Morris LJJ
(1952) 69 RPC 27, (1952) 69 RPC 27, [1952] Ch 255, (1952) 69 RPC 27
Copyright Act 1911, Patents and Designs Act 1907 22, Interpretation Act 1889, Registered Designs Act 1949
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedLucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another CA 16-Dec-2009
The claimants had made several Star Wars films for which the defendants had designed various props items. The parties disputed ownership of the rights in the designs, and in articular of a stormtrooper helmet. The issues came down to whether the . .
CitedRM v The Scottish Ministers SC 28-Nov-2012
The pursuer was held in a secure mental hospital. When moved to a highersecurity section, he challenged the move. He lost but then was unable to make an apeal as allowed iunder the 2003 Act because the Scottish Parliament had not created the . .
CitedInterlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc PC 5-May-1988
How much new material for new copyright
(Hong Kong) Toy building bricks were manufactured by Lego in accordance with engineering drawings made for that purpose. One issue was whether new drawings made since 1972, altering the original drawings in various minor respects but added new . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 September 2021; Ref: scu.470871