Trunki is a range of animal-inspired ride-on suitcases for children. Trunki owner Magmatic had successfully sued company PMS International in the High Court for infringing its Registered Designs with a series of rival Kiddee Cases.
However, the Court of Appeal overturned that decision and PMS is now free to sell its Kiddee Cases.
Intellectual Property lawyers say the Court of Appeal’s decision hinged on the way Magmatic presented its registered designs – as line drawings without any colour or surface details.
This means that the case may now set a precedent for competitors to copy products but change the colour or surface features to avoid infringement.
Magmatic owner and Trunki inventor Rob Law has appealed to have the case re-examined by the Supreme Court.
He is supported by a host of heavyweight designers, including Conran, McCloud and Brompton managing director Will Butler-Adams.
In a letter sent to the Telegraph, the group says the Court of Appeal’s ruling has led to ‘widespread confusion’ for designers about their rights.
They add that the decision ‘puts British businesses, compared to their European counterparts, at a real disadvantage’.
The letter says, ‘This lack of harmonisation is unacceptable for British designers and, we believe, of sufficient importance to warrant re-examination by a higher court.’
The group of designers have also set up the #ProtectYourDesign hashtag on Twitter and are urging British businesses to contact their local MPs about the issue.
Earlier this month the Intellectual Property Act was passed, which makes design copying a criminal offence in the UK.
We look at what the new Intellectual Property Act means for designers here.