Redbubble operator Articore scores second court win against Hells Angels

Redbubble operator Articore scores second court win against Hells Angels

Photo via Redbubble Facebook

Melbourne-based Articore Group (ASX: ATG) has won the latest round of a series of legal stoushes with the Hells Angels over allegations that the company had used the bikie club’s logo without consent.

This is the second win against Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation in the past five years for Articore (formerly known as Redbubble), whose online marketplace allows users to upload images to be printed on merchandise including stickers, mugs and T-shirts which are then offered for sale.

Articore today announced that after an appeal against a Federal Court decision in 2022 to award damages of $78,000 to Hells Angels, the final sum to be paid has been slashed to just $100.

After declaring that Articore must pay just $100 in nominal damages, the Full Court also set aside the trial court’s award of additional damages.

Articore says the Full Court found that there should be no declarations of infringement, and that it will also ‘narrow the scope of the injunction to a form substantially similar to that proposed by Redbubble during the appeal hearing’.

“We are pleased with the judgment of the Full Federal Court,” says a spokesperson from Articore.

“This is a win - not only for Redbubble - but for all online companies in Australia that implement reasonable preventative measures to deal with situations where users might upload potentially infringing content without the platform’s specific knowledge.”

Hells Angels originally sued Redbubble in 2015 with the case first disclosed in the company’s 2016 prospectus.

The legal action dragged on until 2019 when a Federal Court finally handed a win for Redbubble which avoided a hefty penalty for unauthorised trademark usage.

The judge found in Redbubble's favour and dismissed all of Hells Angels' claims in relation to the copyright and consumer law causes of action, although there was still a finding of technical trademark infringement. This led to the court awarding nominal damages of $5,000 whilst declining to award exemplary damages. 

Articore reiterates today that it invests ‘significantly’ in its processes ‘to protect the interests of artists and rights holders’, adding that the latest ruling by the Federal Court ‘reflects our efforts’.

“The decision helps us to ensure that our marketplaces can remain open platforms where hundreds of thousands of independent artists can sell their original creations,” says the spokesperson in the today’s ASX announcement.

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