Porter Davis issued proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia in 2005, alleging Carlisle Homes infringed the copyright in Porter Davis’ Seattle home design, and its later updates the Memphis and Aberdeen.
Justice Heery this week found Carlisle Homes’ Provence house design infringed copyright in the Porter Davis houses and plans by copying an “alfresco quadrant” which he deemed “original and deserving of copyright protection”.
The directors of Carlisle Homes were also found to have given “consciously untrue evidence” and to have “colluded in doing so”.
Porter Davis will now seek either damages or an account of profits from Carlisle Homes as well as its costs. As part of the verdict Carlisle Homes must disclose the number of Provence homes it has sold.
Tony Watson, a partner at law firm Middletons who acted for Porter Davis said the decision is especially relevant to architects, designers, draftsmen and builders – including owner builders.
Porter Davis is also in legal battle with rivals Metricon and Dennis Family Homes.