Trunki vs Kiddee Case intellectual property judgement due at Supreme Court today - but what's the big deal?

Hayley Kirton
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Trunki maker Magmatic is arguing the PMS International has infringed its design rights (Source: Trunki)

It may look like fun and games, but Trunki’s design is big business. So big, in fact, that Magmatic, the company behind the popular children’s "ride-on" suitcases, has gone to the Supreme Court to defend its intellectual property rights - and the judgement is due out today

In a case heard by the Supreme Court in November, Magmatic argued that PMS International’s Kiddee Cases, which are decorated to look like animals or insects, infringes on their design.

Although Magmatic’s Community-registered design for Trunki covers the design of the suitcase in various colours, it doesn’t cover surface decoration.

While the High Court agreed PMS International did infringe on Magmatic’s design back in 2013, the following year the Court of Appeal disagreed, reversing the High Court’s decision and finding in favour of PMS International.

“This is an extremely important case for several reasons,” explained Ewan Grist, intellectual property lawyer at Bird & Bird, back in November.

“It is the first occasion where the highest court in the UK has had to consider the Community design regime which was introduced in 2002 and has been widely adopted by designers around the world to protect their product designs in the EU. It involves Trunki, a successful company at the forefront of British design which has created a hugely well-known and innovative product that has been imitated by a competitor.

"And it will shed light on how computer-aided designs, frequently used to depict registered designs, are to be interpreted when deciding how close is too close for a competitor's design.”

And Clare Jackman, intellectual property lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, remarked: “The appeal re-examines key issues concerning how a registered design should be viewed and assessed in order to establish the protection afforded to it. It is hoped that the ruling will provide clarity on the law with regard to how designers go about seeking protection for their original and innovative designs.”

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