The Court's Decision

As has been widely reported in the press, the Duchess of Sussex has been successful in her copyright infringement claim against Associated Newspapers.  

As we reported in our previous blog (Meghan Markle Successful in Claim Against the Mail on Sunday), there was an unresolved issue relating to the copyright claim concerning whether Meghan was the sole author of a letter she sent to her father or whether she got assistance from the Kensington Palace communications team in drafting this letter.  

It was the newspaper's position that Mr Knauf might have been the author of an electronic draft of the letter Meghan ultimately sent to her father. 

Mr Knauf, who at the time the letter was written, was the Communications Secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, denied that he drafted any parts of the electronic draft. As a result of this, Lord Justice Warby sitting in the High Court has unequivocally held that by reproducing substantial parts of the letter Meghan had sent to her father, Associated Newspapers have infringed copyright. 

What Does the Court's Decision Mean?

The Court has now made the following orders:

  • That Associated Newspapers delete from its newspaper and online notices any references to a trial in relation to the copyright claim.
  • That Associated Newspapers use its best endeavours to deliver up to its solicitors' copies of any draft letter(s) or the final letter for its solicitors to hold and ultimately destroy at the end of the action provided that Meghan ultimately succeeds in her claim.
  • That Associated Newspapers will have to account for the profits they made in publishing the letter.

All of the orders the Court has made are the types of remedies that are commonly awarded in copyright infringement claims.  

Meghan's Misuse of Private Information Claim

Despite succeeding in her copyright claim, Meghan's misuse of private information claim has still not been finally determined by the Court. 

This is because Associated Newspapers have applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal Lord Justice Warby's earlier decision that they had misused her private information by publishing Meghan's letter to her father. Pending the Court of Appeal's decision, Lord Justice Warby has delayed the question of what financial remedies may be payable in respect of this part of the claim.  

Here to Help

Our specialist Intellectual Property Disputes Team routinely advise on a broad range of disputes relating to copyright, trademarks, patents and design rights, along with matters relating to data protection and confidential information. If you would like further information or assistance, our Intellectual Property Disputes Solicitors would be happy to help. You can contact us on 0161 941 4000 or email The Intellectual Property Team for more information.