Five years and £60 000 in legal aid after technical illustrator and cycle journalist Geoff Apps started to sue Weldtite over alleged copyright infringement, the case got to the High Court. Apps lost.
Its unlikely that Weldtite will now be able to recover their legal costs as Geoff Apps has few assets to his name. Resident in Coldstream for nearly ten years, Apps was enticed to the Scottish Borders to work on Jim McGurns New Cyclist magazine which was then located in a stable complex alongside the recumbent and trailer pioneer, Neatwork.
When relations soured between Graham Bell of Neatwork and McGurn, the symbiotic partnership broke up, Open Road was formed and McGurn relocated to York, leaving journalists who had upped sticks behind him. One such journalist was Geoff Apps.
Apps is a superb draughtsman: his precise and knowing technical illustrations grace Mike Burrows just-published book on cycle design. However, the main claim to fame of Geoff Apps is as the inventor of the British cross country bicycle, a precursor of the mountain bike.
His Range Rider pre-dated the Marin County downhill clunkers which took the world by storm. Apps fitted motorcycle gripshifts to bicycles long before SRAM. His Range Rider was also fitted with Nokia metal-studded tyres and could climb over obstacles with ease. Apps founded the Cross Country Cycling Club and was also a moving force in observed trials riding for off road cyclists.
As well as designing his own bicycles and components, he freelanced for others.
Apps was also formerly the technical editor a UK cycle trade magazine. However, after it was revealed in Cycle Industry that Apps had acted as an expert witness to a problem customer in a court case where a highly-regarded IBD was successfully sued, Apps lost this freelance job.
Five years ago he started working for Weldtite on a freelance project to design some stabilisers but the company and he fell out. At times the dispute was extremely acrimonius.
Apps was on income support and was granted legal aid to fight his case. This was a bone of contention with Weldtite who have had to foot the full legal bill despite winning the case. Below is Weldtites press release:
The long-running copyright and design rights battle between Weldtite Products Ltd and Geoffry Apps, freelance journalist, is over.
Weldtite Products Ltd have been vindicated and won the case outright and have been awarded costs against Geoffrey Apps. The battle started 5 years ago when Geoffrey Apps was employed by Weldtite to assist in reviewing the Adie stabiliser range. This was to include the introduction of a new stabiliser if required.
Unfortunately the intitial ideas produced by Geoffrey Apps on behalf of Weldtite Products Ltd were unworkable. Weldtite Products Ltd. designed a new stabiliser that fitted all known brands of childrens cycles. This is the Adie Ultimate stabiliser which is a worldwide selling success. Geoffrey Apps claimed copyright and design right on the Adie Ultimate stabiliser. He received legal aid for 4 years until the case was eventually heard in the High Court in London.
Weldtite Products Ltd. are delighted that justice has been done and the Court has confirmed that all design rights and copyright for their stabiliser belong solely to their company. Weldtite recommend that any company doing any design work in the future should be sure to use reputable design companies and have agreements drawn up before any work commences.