Australian swimwear brand Seafolly has been ordered to pay A$40,000 (£22,000) in damages to a rival designer who accused the brand of plagiarism.
The Federal Court ruled that Seafolly breached the Trade Practices Act with two press releases it put out refuting copyright claims made by Leah Madden, reports the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
Madden claimed on Facebook and in emails to journalists in 2010 that Seafolly copied eight of her White Sands Swimwear styles from her Shipwrecked collection.
Last Friday, the court heard that Seafolly had engaged in deceptive conduct by dispersing the press releases, which said that Madden had acted "maliciously", to media outlets, including one to the Rag-trader, the other to The Age and the Gold Coast Bulletin, and both to Pedestrian TV.
One of the releases said: “Seafolly denies these claims and says that they are completely false and without foundation and says the claims have been made maliciously to injure Seafolly.”
Seafolly and Leah Madden have been locked in a legal battle for four years.
In November 2012, Federal Court judge Richard Tracey found Madden had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by posting the claims on Facebook and ordered her to pay Seafolly A$25,000.
But in March this year, the Full Court reduced the award to A$20,000, but said Madden should pay 90% of Seafolly’s appeal costs.