02 August 2013


In ACP Machinery Australia Pty Ltd v Aerospace Technologies of Australia Ltd (No 3) [2013] FCA 718 the Federal Court of Australia FCA has declared that Boeing Aerostructures Australia infringed copyright of a manufacturer of machine tools for the Boeing aircraft when Boeing reproduced and handed to another company the technical drawings of a custom-built 'universal holding fixture' developed by that manufacturer.

ACP Machinery Australia Pty Ltd (ACP) sought injunctions and damages against Aerospace Technologies of Australia Limited (ASTA) and Boeing Aerostructures Australia Pty Ltd (BAA), for what were alleged to be breaches of contract and infringements of copyright. The contract was made in 2001; the works alleged to be protected by copyright were created at about the same time. At the time, the party with whom ACP dealt, and contracted, was ASTA. In October 2003 the business of ASTA was sold to BAA, then named Hawker de Havilland Aerospace Pty Ltd. No party in the proceedings suggests that any material difference was made by these reorganisations, with the respondents defending ACP’s allegations as though BAA now is the embodiment of, and responsible for the agreements and actions of, ASTA.

The FCA refused the manufacturer's other claim for infringement and damages for breach of contract because court held that the manufacturer was unable to substantiate its claims.