The Supreme Court has today dismissed an appeal by Trunki manufacturer Magmatic, which contended that a competitor product was breaching its intellectual property rights.
Magmatic had previously registered a Community-registered design for its Trunki suitcases which covers various colours but not surface decoration.
Magmatic argued in front of the Supreme Court in November that PMS International’s Kiddee Cases, which are decorated to look like animals or insects, infringed the design rights of their popular children's suitcase.
While the High Court had initially agreed with Magmatic back in 2013, the Court of Appeal reversed that decision and found in favour of PMS International. The Supreme Court today agreed with the Court of Appeal's decision.
"We are devastated and bewildered by this judgment, not just for ourselves but for the huge wave of uncertainty it brings to designers across Britain," said Trunki founder Rob Law. "We created an original product in Trunki and protected it by computer generated registered design – a process used to protect a third of designs across Europe.
"In my honest opinion, the Trunki was willfully ripped off. We stood up to this behaviour, held it to account and took our case all the way to the highest court in the land – only for the judges to rule that we are not protected against the copy."
Paul Beverley, founder and managing director of PMS International, said: "Today's decision is not just the right result for our company, but most importantly a victory for hard-working British families for fair competition."
Commenting on the result of the case, Clare Jackman, an intellectual property lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, said: "This is an important ruling in the area of registered designs which has helped clear up the uncertainty which has prevailed since the Court of Appeal disagreed with the High Court’s findings. How design representations are interpreted, which in turn defines the scope of protection, means that designers will need to take great care when applying for protection for designs in future to ensure that the broadest protection is achieved for the design as a whole and any individual features of the design with individual character."