A Queenstown ‘sensory maze’ accused of being a mirror image of Australian rivals has avoided being effectively shut down immediately.
Australian firm Dreamtech claims directors of Clownfish Entertainment Ltd and CEQT copied its Infinity Attractions outfit in the Gold Coast.
Clownfish/CEQT operate Odyssey sensory mazes on Shotover Street, Queenstown, and in Auckland.
Before the case hits the High Court, Dreamtech sought an injunction forcing the New Zealand firms to close rooms and remove elements, including all floor to ceiling mirrors.
Justice Mark Woodford denied the application.
“The directors of Clownfish and CEQT admit to visiting Infinity, and designing Odyssey in just six months following that visit.
“However, they deny that their work mimics any works of copyright, creates any misleading links between Odyssey and Infinity, or that they are causing damage to Dreamtech or its reputation.”
Both attractions see visitors walk through rooms with darker challenging spaces, quirky objects and challenges, illusions, lighting effects, scents, sound effects and strange sensations.
Dreamtech claims the rooms are ‘artistic work’ capable of being copyrighted and also claims there’s an implied link between the attractions.
Clownfish/CEQT reject this saying they’re concepts or ideas, which can’t be copyrighted.
It says Dreamtech has no competing attraction in New Zealand and has not provided information relating to confusion of the brands or to loss of business.
Lawyers argue Dreamtech’s concern appears to focus on the future loss to a franchise agreement.
Woodford says on balance, he considers there is a serious case the work could be seen as having some artistic quality and the similarity in businesses could give rise to a conclusion they were linked.
But those are all issues for a trial.
“Allowing an interim injunction would be highly likely to ruin their business entirely, over a claim which will require
extensive examination and comparison of the businesses by way of a long trial, and in which Dreamtech is suffering no immediate, irreparable harm.”
There’s a serious case to be tried but the opening argument and evidence is “not so overwhelming in favour of one party that interim relief is required”.