Button Moon creator Ian Allen wins court copyright fight
The creator of children's TV show Button Moon has won a damages claim against a businessman he said copied his designs on T-shirts and mugs.
Ian Allen, 63, of Tibenham, Norfolk, said seeing his Mr Spoon character on someone else's products was like seeing his children stolen.
He was awarded £3,736 in damages from Robert Redshaw, of Bridlington, East Yorkshire, for copyright infringement.
Mr Redshaw was also ordered to pay Mr Allen's legal costs of £3,421.
Button Moon, aimed at pre-school children, began life as a stage show in 1978. It ran for 91 episodes on ITV in the 1980s and is still broadcast on satellite channels.
Mr Allen still owns the copyright in his original designs and makes money granting rights to manufacturers to produce and sell Button Moon-related merchandise.
He sued Mr Redshaw after discovering he was selling T-shirts and mugs featuring designs similar to Button Moon and the Mr Spoon character.
He said: "I was very determined that this man should not win. It was like someone taking your children and doing what they want to with them, and making money from it."
The Patents County Court heard Mr Redshaw, who runs Bridlington-based Kapow Gifts, had previously gone to him asking for a licence to create and sell Button Moon T-shirts.
Mr Allen refused, but in 2009 he discovered T-shirts and mugs bearing strikingly similar designs to his were being sold via eBay and Amazon.
Trading standards officers from East Riding of Yorkshire Council visited Mr Redshaw's shop, found some items on sale and ordered him to destroy them.
Representing himself in court, Mr Allen said Mr Redshaw had "passed off" Button Moon designs as authorised merchandise.
Mr Redshaw denied copying the work, claiming he had intended to create a parody of Button Moon and Mr Spoon.
He said he had taken care not to use the name Button Moon and that the items included a disclaimer, saying they were not official products.
But Recorder Amanda Michaels rejected Mr Redshaw's defence and said: "There is no doubt in my mind that Mr Redshaw has infringed Mr Allen's copyright.
"In my view, even though Mr Redshaw's goods do not bear the Button Moon name, and bear the disclaimers described above, they so closely copy the Button Moon characters' designs as to make a misrepresentation that the goods are licensed or official products."