Most of us, especially those with children know about the famous Trunki, which appeared on ‘Dragon’s Den’ TV show as the first ride on hand luggage suitcase for children. Since coming on the market it has achieved great success and continues to do so by selling its cases in an impressive 97 countries.
Magmatic Limited, the manufacturers of the Trunki cases took action against PMS International Limited for infringing its Registered Community Design Righst, Unregistered Design Rights and Copyright. PMS admitted it took inspiration from the Trunki case for its Kiddie case. The court held that PMS’s Kiddie case infringed Trunki’s Registered Community Design.
Although the court concluded that the design had been copied. PMS sought to invalidate Magmatic’s Registered Community Design. In the EU for a design to be registrable it has to be new (no identical design is available to the public) and possess individual character (the overall impression it produces is on the informed user differs from the overall impression produce). The question raised was whether disclosure of an earlier Rodeo design which was identical to the Trunki and was disclosed at an award ceremony in 1998 meant that the Registered Design application made in 2003 was invalid.
The court compared the Trunki and Rodeo and fortunately for Magmatic it concluded that the overall impression created by the Trunki differed from that of Rodeo’s design. The court went onto consider the similarities and differences between the Trunki and Kiddie case and held that PMS had infringed Trunki’s Community Registered Design.
The case emphasizes the importance of avoiding any similarities between your design and a design that already exists on the market. The case also highlights the importance of protecting your design before disclosing it to the public.