Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club has successfully defended a copyright claim in the High Court following an attempt by a local pensioner to prove that the club badge had been designed based on a drawing he made as an 11 year old.
Our Trainee Solicitor, Lowri Roberts, takes a look at the copyright dispute.
The claimant, Peter Davies, who now faces bankruptcy after being ordered to pay significant legal costs estimated to be in the region of £450,000, failed to convince the court that a drawing which he produced as a school boy in the 1960s was copied by the football club’s designer, Ian Jackson, over a decade later. The claimant believes that the well-known emblem (a wolf head design within a black hexagon) which has been used by the club since 1979, is the same design which he submitted in a competition run by a local art gallery in Wolverhampton in the 1960s. The drawing (which looks identical to the club logo) was produced by Mr Davies after being asked by a maths teacher to demonstrate an understanding of Blaise Pascal’s Hexagrammum Mysticum theorem (a rule in geometry).
Ian Jackson, the club’s designer back in 1979 who is now in his 80s, told the court that it was impossible for him to have seen Mr Davies’ schoolboy drawing and that he would never copy someone else’s work. The judge agreed, and coupled with the long delay to legal proceedings (40 years) the judge told the claimant he faced “insuperable obstacles” in proving his copyright claim.