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.