Oraka v Geostel

2020-07-06T05:40:38+00:00

Counsel for two of the defendants, Geostel and its director Paul Daynes, since June 2016. The case relates to industrial copyright in the design of a component called a cup used in asparagus-grading machines. I was instructed just after the High Court had awarded damages of $4.1m against my clients and another party, Napier Tool & Die, in 2016 – the largest award of damages for copyright infringement in New Zealand history.

That award was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2016: reported at [2017] 2 NZLR 611.  The High Court was directed to assess damages on a “user principle” (or notional licence fee) basis rather than lost profits.  Geostel was awarded costs on Oraka’s abandoned application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court: [2017] NZSC 79. There was a further six day trial in the High Court in 2017 including extensive expert evidence.  The High Court set damages at $510,000, plus interest going back to 2005 which effectively doubled the amount due: reported at (2018) 131 IPR 363. This was reduced on appeal to $47,000: [2020] NZCA 256.

Craig v Social Media Consultants Limited

2020-07-06T02:35:46+00:00

Counsel for the appellant (briefed for the appeal), I successfully argued that the High Court should overturn the District Court’s decision to strike out the plaintiff’s claim for copyright infringement. The claim related to the publication on the Whale Oil blog of a poem written by Colin Craig, and also involved issues of breach of privacy and breach of confidence.