A FASHION gift company has settled a long-running design right case involving one of its jumpers.

Hove-based Ellie Ellie took legal action when it emerged copies of its “Prosecco ho ho ho” Christmas jumper design had been supplied to retailers including online firm Boohoo!

The copies were red and had a strikingly similar version of the design – carrying the same font and snowflake.

Ellie Ellie first released the design in Christmas 2015 and it became a bestseller for them.

A member of the team spotted the copies of the design last year.

The company was represented by lawyers in the Manchester and London offices of specialist intellectual property firm Brandsmiths.

Ellie Ellie founder Danielle Plowman said: “At Ellie Ellie we pride ourselves on original design and bringing exciting pieces to market.

“When one of our most popular styles had been copied, we moved quickly to shut down the infringing sales.

“We are pleased that a settlement has now been reached out of court and it will hopefully act as a deterrent for other suppliers who are tempted to copy the original work of smaller, inventive brands.”

There was a small financial payout, which covered Ellie Ellie’s legal fees.Determined to turn the experience into a positive one, Ellie Ellie asked for the remaining stock of the copied jumpers – more than 500 of them – be donated to their chosen charity.

They have now been given to St Barnabas House Hospice in Worthing and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice near Arundel.

The two hospices have 23 shops across Sussex and Hampshire and the jumpers will be sold from these.

St Barnabas head of retail Jan Harper said: “We’d like to give a big thank you to the Ellie Ellie team for their generous donation.

“These will be perfect to sell in our shops to raise money towards the services provided both at the hospices and in families’ own homes.”

Despite the long-running legal case, Ellie Ellie, which specialises in personalised gifts and slogan jumpers, continues to grow.

It finished the financial year with a turnover of £1.7 million, which is 44 per cent up on last year.

The team has grown from 11 to 21 in 12 months.

It is also planning to move into a bigger warehouse in 2018, meaning big changes are on the horizon for the small business.

St Barnabas treats adults with advanced progressive life-limiting illnesses and patients are never charged for their care.

It costs nearly £6 million each year to run the hospice and only a small part of these costs are state funded.

This means the majority of the money has to be raised through voluntary donations from local communities within the Worthing, Adur, Arun and Henfield areas.

Chestnut Tree House provides specialist palliative care services to 300 children and young people with life-shortening conditions in Sussex and south east Hampshire.

Its services include assessment, advice and information, specialist short breaks, emergency care, step down from hospital and end-of-life care. It costs well over £3.5 million each year to provide all the services and less than seven per cent of this comes from central Government.