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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23698
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I put in plans which a had drawn myself, for a garage to be

Customer Question

hi I put in plans which a had drawn myself, for a garage to be built, which was then passed, then my neighbour took the exact same plans, changed the name and used them for his application. is this copyright and can I take hime to court
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I am in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire under East Staffordshire borough council
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I contacted him as soon as a had seen the application and asked for the sum of £400 for the use of my plans, his reply was I took them from the public domain.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: all via email
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

What is your objection to this please?

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I object to my neighbour using my drawings to save himself money and also to blatantly annoy us.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I will also be in and out of the office but will reply asap
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 days ago.

This is indeed a breach of your intellectual property right/copyright in the plans and as such you are entitled to compensation and that compensation is likely to be whatever it would cost to have the plans drawn, plus the cost of any court costs.

The fact that they were available from the local authority planning department website is irrelevant.  Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s in the public domain.

The Internet is full of images which are freely available to look at but you can’t use.  I deal with dozens of claims every year from people who have used Internet discovered images on their website and in their advertising blurb only to get a bill of thousands of pounds from the image owner, Getty Images, or suchlike.

So the fact that he has got them off the Internet is irrelevant.  He needs to take better legal advice.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hi ok yes I understand that, and makes sense to me. So where does this leave me with action for using the drawing of mine. Does your answer mean yes he is in breach of copyright and I can take home to court. ? Also is there a time limit on when he did it, as it may have been sometime in 2018.?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I’m only available to message at the moment
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 days ago.

The limitation period for bringing the copyright infringement claim in the UK under the Limitation Act 1980 is 6 years.  But don’t hang around because the courts don’t like delay.

Yes, if he won’t pay up your only remedy is to take him to court.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Ok so I take him for the £400 I asked him for initially, or do I add costs for the time between then and now for which he benefited with a sale of his property for £360’000 with the planning permission granted which would have been a big selling point
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 days ago.

You have no interest in the increase price of the property because if he had bought the plans, it is totally separate from the increase in value of the property.  What he did with the plans is immaterial.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Hi can you advise who to call for this,
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

I’m sorry I don’t understand.  You need to tell him, in writing, how much you want and give him a deadline to pay and if he doesn’t then you issue court proceedings against him in the Small Claims Court.