JLR C-type Replica Court Case - The First Witness
STOP PRESS (23/03/23): We are exceptionally pleased to say that the Magnussons have won their appeal against the lower Swedish court's decision in favour of JLR with regard to their C-type replica which JLR were insisting they must destroy. Not only have the Magnussons won the case but they have been awarded considerable costs. It is, though, not all good news. It seems that this court accepts JLR have copyright in the C-type design (which they incorrectly credited in its entirety to Malcolm Sayer) and so in theory no-one can now build C-type replicas commercially. The Magnussons won because private use of a copyrighted item is permitted. It seems that the Magnussons have bravely won their battle but the larger community may have lost the war.
Through diligent research by Karl Magnusson, new information has come to light concerning JLR’s three witnesses and the answers they gave in court.
For those who wish to read the full background story, my previous articles are available here. In brief, JLR took an elderly Swedish couple, Karl Magnusson and his wife, to court for building, with modest commercial pretensions, a C-type replica and won the case. The Magnussons are appealing and that hearing is scheduled for next January.
We will now examine the evidence of Kev Riches, before dealing with the other two witnesses in future issues.
Riches, who was questioned in court, was employed by JLR Classic as Vehicle Engineering Manager.
The following are extracts from his evidence to the court (as translated by Google so there might be slight inaccuracies but I believe the essential information is correct). In the first extract, Riches is being questioned by JLR’s lawyer and in the second extract by the Magnussons’ lawyer.
Nordenvik: The defendants are also claiming that you are building a replica. Is that correct?
Riches: Well, I am building a kit-car.
Nordenvik: Can you describe what a kit-car is?
Riches: A kit-car is a home-built car which is made of a number of components from different vehicles.
Nordenvik: And do you know if JLR has endorsed the replica market?
Riches: Definitely not.
Nordenvik: Do you know if JLR has given any business permission to create C-type replicas or any replica?
Riches: Not that I am aware of.
Sjöström: So let's return to your own replica car. You mentioned before that you were building a kit-car. Is that a sort of construction kit for a car that is like a C-type car?
Riches: My car is a vehicle that I've built myself, a bespoke vehicle. It is inspired by the C-type but that is really where the definition ends – many differences on my car. My car is much more drivable and usable.
Sjöström: So, disregarding the engineering of it, is the car that you have, in terms of appearances, similar to a C-type?
Riches: As I say, it’s inspired [by the C-type] but it's not the same with many different design differences.
Sjöström: Where did you buy the parts for the car from?
Riches: [From] many of the car shows around the UK, most of them secondhand parts.
Sjöström: When you met with Karl Magnusson in March 2016, he claims that you told him that you were building a replica car inspired by the C-type. So, the question is where did you get the body for that car from?
Riches: It’s home built.
Sjöström: So that’s not really an answer to my question but I will ask again. My question – is the body of this car, that has been purchased so that you can home build the car, where was the body of the car bought from? Who did deliver that body of the car so that it could be built at home?
Riches: I don’t know how to answer the question. The body is home built. It’s made of aluminum.
The following is an email sent by Kevin Riches to Roger Williams of Suffolk Sportscars in 2015. Roger recently sent it to Karl for use in the appeal hearing. Suffolk went into liquidation in part, it is alleged, due to threats of legal action by JLR.