A LEADING North East dog trainer has launched a £1m legal battle with police chiefs after accusing them of stealing a chapter from his best-selling book.
John Rogerson claims the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) online training manual contains information lifted directly from his book In Tune With Your Dog, which was first published under a different title in 1988. The 63-year-old, who teaches military, search and rescue, guide dog and welfare organisations across the world, says he was unaware until one of his students pointed it out to him in 2009.
Sales of his book dropped after the ACPO online manual was published in 2002 and his legal team believe John has a claim of around £750,000 for seven years of lost sales and damage done to his reputation. If it goes to the High Court, it could cost ACPO almost £1m.
ACPO, which represents the most senior police officers in the UK, is accused of lifting parts of his book without permission and making it free to download on the website.
Mr Rogerson, who runs the Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour in Ferryhill, County Durham, said: “It is a flagrant breach of the 1998 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
“There is no doubt about it – my book has literally been copied on to the police web site.
“There is the odd occasion where the word ‘police’ is put before ‘dog’ but other than that it is exactly the same. I did not realise it until it had been going on for seven years. My book went from doing very well and being re-printed to a handful sold every year.
“Then one of my students said to me ‘Didn’t you know you can get this online?’
“It was only when I checked that I realised.”
He added: “The book was not available online, so I can only assume it was copied and typed in.
“It is a question not just of copyright. It has damaged my credibility and professional standing. It looks like I have lifted their work, when exactly the opposite is the case.”
Mr Rogerson’s solicitor Peter Evans, litigation expert at Evans & Co Solicitors in Spennymoor, County Durham, said: “I believe this is a cut and dried case and expected it to have been settled a long time ago.
“We are taking advice from a barrister who specialises in intellectual property.”
A spokesman for ACPO said: “We are aware of the complaint from Mr Rogerson and have been in dialogue with his legal advisors.”