If I copy your idea and sell it as my own, you can sue me and win your case.
If I copy your design and sell it as my own, you can sue me and win your case.
But if I only “sort of” copy your design, just not very well, and give it a nice bright paint job, and sell it as my own, you can sue me and lose half a million quid.
Welcome to the wacky world of Intellectual Property – “IP” to the lawyers.
Have a look at the article on the Telegraph website here
Trunki cases are the suitcases which look like cartoon animals on wheels, for young children to stride on and get under your feet in airports. They were invented by Rob Law.
Except an IP lawyer will tell you, that you can’t invent a suitcase with wheels. That was probably the next project worked on by the original caveman, after he had finished inventing the actual wheel.
So a lot of the outrage when PMS International succeeded in asserting its right to market the Kiddee suitcases [which are, surprise surprise, suitcases which look like cartoon animals on wheels, for young children to ride on and get under your feet in airports] is misplaced.
Yes anyone can make a suitcase with wheels, you can’t be sued for it, just as Ford can’t sue Volkswagen for making powered tin boxes with wheels.
But what Trunki was trying to do, was prove to the Courts that their actual design of suitcase had been copied. Very hard to do.
They had to prove first that the relevant design elements of a Trunki case had actually been protected by their Design registered and second that the Kiddee product had incorporated them, so that in effect, you cannot tell a Kiddee product from a Trunki product.
And by jingo, they are jolly similar looking. This is the Trunki.
They are certainly so similar in design that the litigation between the two manufacturers has been dealt with before three courts in the past years, and at the start in the High Court, Trunki were the winners.
Here is the Supremes Court’s final judgement in favour of Kiddee in full.
Famously, the Trunki had been presented to the TV Dragons Den entrepreneurs who declined to invest in it, saying that the makers would be unable to protect their design from copiers. Clever Boys and Girls, those Dragons.
So if there is a moral to all of this, it must be that IP is pretty jolly complicated.
Complicated to understand, never mind to protect.
Do you know your Copyrights, from your Design Registrations? What is a Patent when it’s at home and how does it differ from a trademark?
This stuff is so important, to protect investment and jobs. Not only are the rules complex and at first sight contradictory in England, but there are likely to be additional and different rules and procedures applied in different countries abroad.
This is why there are in England firms of lawyers who are specialist Trademark and Patent Attorneys. They need to employ or work closely with engineers, manufacturers and scientists, because the first task in protecting your IP, even before knowing and applying the law, is to understand exactly what your product is – what makes it unique – what elements of it can actually be protected by the law.
As a Notary involved with assisting registrations and Court Applications around the world, I work closely with firms of IP Attorneys and if there is one message I seek to get across to you, it is that it is absolutely crucial, for inventors and intending manufacturers to take their specialist advice before going to market.
Or else, get ready, someone will be stealing. Stealing like a thief in the night – cue for a song link here.
As ever, Please do contact me and Louise whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)