Intellectual Property – A ‘case’ of ‘wheel’ interest
6 April 2016 by Ashton Carter
Since we published our blog ‘Social Media a ‘Wheely’ Good Idea in Intellectual Property’ (click here to view) in relation to the ongoing Trunki intellectual property dispute, the case has now reached its conclusion with dramatic consequences for one party.
The Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeal, that PMS International’s Kiddee Case range did not infringe registered design rights of Magmatic (the owner and designed of the ‘Trunki’ range), which had previously been upheld by the High Court but was overturned on appeal to the Court of Appeal.
In delivering its Judgement, Justice Lord Neuberger of the Supreme Court confirmed that Trunki was “both original and clever” and that despite it seeming to “appear clear” the Kiddee Case devised by PMS had been conceived “as a result of seeing a Trunki and discovering that a discount model was not available“, nonetheless, the appeal in question was dismissed on the grounds of a design infringement and the overall idea or invention.
As a result, the Supreme Court ruled that on the basis of the design and the “overall impression created by a design“, despite the similarities between the two, the overall impression between the competing products was “significantly different from the impression made by the Kiddee Case… “.
As a result of the decision, which is founded on the basis of the design itself and the overall idea or invention in question, it is widely predicted the impact of this is likely to cause concern amongst the products-market and intellectual property field alike.
The decision appears to open up future potential arguments and defences to allegations of design right infringement, unequivocally confirmed by Trunki in response to the judgement when they stated that: “under this ruling the rights of more than 350,000 creative British businesses would be undermined and designers left vulnerable to flagrant design infringement.”
The case itself appears to demonstrate how difficult it is for business to protect their design law on the basis of the appearance of products when compared with the idea of the design.
We here at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP can assist you with all of the your copyright and intellectual property requirements, from IP registration, to copyright protection and enforcement proceedings. Should you wish to discuss your intellectual property or that of your business, please contact our Corporate Commercial Department on 01245 584515 or [email protected]