Seafolly has initiated federal court proceedings against Australian Downtown Marketing and its director, claiming that they have infringed Seafolly’s copyright in its Zembezi print.

Seafolly claims the fabric used to manufacture the Mooloola swimwear garments was designed by an employee of Fewstone trading as Mooloola Fashion, who directed Australian Downtown Marketing to copy Seafolly’s Zambezi design. 

Seafolly is now seeking damages and an injunction against Australian Downtown Marketing and its director, restraining them from dealing in the copied fabric, while a commercial settlement was reached between Seafolly and Fewstone.

"Seafolly is committed to protecting its original fabric designs. It is important that Seafolly protect its original fabric designs so that its loyal customers throughout the world are guaranteed that the garments they purchase feature fabric designs that are not knocked off by other traders,” said Seafolly’s CEO Anthony Halas.

"Seafolly, like many other designers in Australia, takes the copying of its original fabric designs seriously and it currently has one Federal Court proceeding on foot in the Federal Court of Australia with a further two proceedings likely to be issued within the coming weeks,” said Tony Watson, a partner of Middletons who acted for Seafolly in each of these cases.

“In this competitive marketplace where designers are trying to keep up with fashion trends it is important for designers to enforce their copyright rights and protect their designs so that the significant costs of employing a design team to create these original designs can be justified.

“By not taking action would be copyists can take these original designs without having to incur the significant designs costs that are incurred by the likes of Seafolly in coming up with these innovative designs.” 

This isn’t the first time Seafolly had to go to court on copyright issues.

In 2007, Seafolly claimed that Sevcoy had released a swimwear garment that was a “substantial reproduction of its Tiki stripe design” therefore infringing Seafolly’s copyright rights in this fabric design.

Federal Court proceedings were issued against Sevcoy but the case was settled out of court.

The following year, Seafolly sued a Canadian company for copying its Mikado design, while the company also made a claim for copyright infringement against Italian company L’Aura Blu Design for Seafolly’s Goddess Mailott pattern.

Both cases were settled out of court.