Manchester-based law firm JMW Solicitors obtained a £45,000 damages payout from a law firm competitor after it saw with surprise and disappointment that the competitor had been plagiarising its correspondence.
A partner at JMW saw the plagiarism when he was sent a letter of claim issued by Widnes-based law firm Hayes Connor, seeing that it was one he and a colleague had drafted themselves.
Hayes Connor, which was set up in 2017 by Kingsley Hayes and markets itself as ‘The Data Breach Experts’, initially denied having breached copyright until JMW issued legal proceedings, following which it was revealed the firm had presented the obviously impressive letter as its own work on more than 200 occasions.
JMW partner Nick McAleenan described what had happened as “a quite remarkable set of circumstances”.
“Clearly, if somebody copies your work, you could take the view that it’s a back-handed compliment for the quality of the work which JMW does.
“After all, it’s highly unusual to find yourself staring at correspondence sent by another law firm which inexplicably contains passages copied verbatim from a document which you had written yourself.
“In the case which Hayes Connor pleaded, they had blamed a barrister with whom they’d worked.
“However, we maintained in our claim that Hayes Connor was aware that the document he provided them with was not based on his own work.
“The actual scale of the infringement was simply staggering and rather disappointing. In a nutshell, they had made a business out of breaching our copyright.
“Sadly, imitation, in this instance, isn’t the sincerest form of flattery. It’s simply a breach of copyright.”
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