The Trunki suitcase is a product with which many parents of young children are familiar, allowing a child’s treasures to be transported safely in a ride-on suitcase. Providing swiftness of movement with a toddler in tow and entertainment value in airport queues, its innovation as the first ride on suitcase has won many awards. It became so popular that it is believed that in 2011 approximately 20% of all 3-6 year olds in the UK possessed a Trunki.
Trunki was determined to retain its market position and took action against an importer of similar cases (called the Kiddee Case) when a competitor entered the market. Having already secured a registered design, Trunki took action in the High Court, claiming that the Kiddee Case infringed the registered design, unregistered design rights, and copyright:
Open & shut case?
On 11 July 2013, the Kiddee Case was deemed to have infringed Trunki’s registered design and unregistered design rights in various specific features, but not copyright in Trunki’s packaging artwork as there was no “substantial reproduction”. This is of little consolation for Kiddee Case which was sent packing without a case to sit on.
This case illustrates the importance of registering new designs to protect your investment in researching, developing and bringing your product to market as well and serves as a cautionary note to ensure that inspiration does not stray into reproduction. Design registration is usually straightforward and relatively inexpensive and whilst clearance searches can be useful before a new design is brought to market, results should be interpreted with the help of a qualified attorney if you want guidance on whether or not your product is likely to infringe
We can provide advice in this area and if you would like to speak to someone about designs please contact your usual Appleyard Lees advisor.
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