Trunki rides on to Supreme Court

Magmatic Limited ("Magmatic") and PMS International Limited ("PMS") will meet again this year in their continuing battle over ride-on wheels. 

Magmatic, the Bristol-based manufacturer of the "Trunki" suitcase, was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in December. The appeal concerns Magmatic's longstanding dispute with the Hong-Kong based PMS over the alleged infringement of the Trunki suitcase by the "Kiddee Case".

Previously the Court of Appeal considered that the 'Kiddee Case' did not infringe the registered Community designs of Magmatic.  Whilst PMS admitted that their Kiddee Case suitcase was inspired by the Trunki design, the Court of Appeal had considered that the Kiddee Case produced a different overall visual impression compared with the Trunki suitcase.

The Kiddee Case's animal and insect surface decorations were considered to make the designs sufficiently different to the computer aided design ("CAD") drawings used in Magmatic's Community registered design, which showed tonal contrasts but no surface decoration.

This decision caused concern amongst businesses in relation to the availability of design right protection for CAD drawings and whether this extended the possibility for surface decoration to be taken into account when comparing registered designs. 

As a result of the Court of Appeal decision, Rob Law, the founder of Trunki, led a #ProtectYourDesign campaign on Twitter, supported by British businesses, to call for a further appeal to the Supreme Court and promoting appropriate intellectual property protection for British designers. 

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the appeal this year. Businesses who rely on design rights will be watching closely to see whether the Supreme Court judges do depart from the decision of the Court of Appeal. It will also be particularly interesting if the case is referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.  

We will keep you updated on the progress of this case. Read the Court of Appeal decision which is the subject of appeal. 

For more information please contact Charlotte Bolton, Solicitor in the Commercial Disputes & Regulatory team on charlotte.bolton@michelmores.com or on 01392 687745.