A Perth lawyer helped an aggrieved logo designer achieve a $710,000 out of court settlement against the Hog’s Breath Cafe chain before launching action against the designer himself, Supreme Court documents reveal.
A written judgement delivered today by Supreme Court master Craig Sanderson confirms the payment was bargained down from $750,000 after Perth intellectual property lawyer Paul Mallon was secretly cut from negotiations.
In 2006, Mr Mallon had acted for American designer John Lamb when he took on Hog’s Breath in the Perth outpost of the Federal Court.
Before Justice Robert French on June 22, 2007, Mr Lamb had claimed he owned copyright in a cartoon of a pig known as the “Wave Hog Work”.
He said he produced the pig in 1987 to promote the original Hog’s Breath Saloon in Florida.
Mr Lamb alleged that, from 1996, companies controlled by a former worker at the Florida eatery had infringed his copyright in various ways including applying the pig logo to clothing related to the Hog’s Breath cafes in Australia.
Today’s judgement reveals Hog’s Breath agreed to pay Mr Lamb $750,000 and have Mr Mallon deduct his fees from the amount.
However, without Mr Mallon’s knowledge Mr Lamb then engaged an American lawyer to deal directly with Hog’s Breath.
The settlement was slashed to $710,000 and an agreement struck to divert payments away from Mr Mallon and into the trust account of his American lawyer.
Master Sanderson accepted Mr Mallon had tried pursuing Mr Lamb who said he would resist any claim. Mr Lamb claims he is broke and a judgment against him would remain unsatisfied.
Hog’s Breath has 73 outlets across Australia. Its six steakhouses in Western Australia are at Kelmscott, Rockingham, Mindarie, Mandurah, Joondalup and Northbridge.
A restaurant licence application for a new, seventh Hog’s Breath at Cale Street in Midland has been lodged with the Director of Liquor Licensing.