Potter Clarkson delighted to help Stretchline achieve its recent High Court victory over H&M

26 November 2015

We are very pleased to report that our client, Stretchline Holdings, has won a multi-million pound, multi-jurisdictional patent dispute against the global clothing retailer, H&M. The judgment was handed down at the High Court on 20 November 2015, and will see Stretchline entitled to an injunction, damages, costs and other remedies, subject to any appeal.

The dispute concerned Stretchline’s patented brassiere technology, Fortitube®, which prevents bra underwires from perforating through the fabric casing, which is a particular problem when underwired bras are washed in a washing machine.  Potter Clarkson and its Patent Attorney Litigators worked closely throughout the dispute with Stretchline’s UK solicitors (led by Nick McDonald at Nelsons, Nottingham) and barristers (Nick Caddick QC and Andrew Norris, at Hogarth Chambers, London).
In fact, Potter Clarkson’s involvement with the patented technology started much earlier, back in 1994, when it first met the client to discuss its invention.  Potter Clarkson drafted the original patent application and prosecuted patent applications to grant in key territories around the world.  It also registered trade marks to protect the name Fortitube®.  Hence, a portfolio of IP rights was obtained to protect the technology from third parties who might try to steal it and/or make inferior copies of its products.
In 2011, Stretchline discovered that H&M were selling bras which incorporated Stretchline’s technology, and launched proceedings in the US and UK.  That dispute was settled, but in 2012 Stretchline found that H&M was again selling infringing bras and was forced to launch proceedings to stop H&M’s infringing activities.
Head of IP at Stretchline, Robert Glenn, reflecting on the High Court judgement, said: “This is an important day for Stretchline, as we are, and always have been, extremely proud of our innovative technologies.  It’s important to our customers that we protect our IP rights, and that is all we have sought to do here.”  He added: I am very happy with the result but sad that it had to go to court.”
The full trial decision is available here.

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