Posted on 26/7/2013

Trunki Sends Kiddee Case Packing

In a recent High Court case, Magmatic Limited vs. PMS International Limited, the claimant, which manufactures and sells the Trunki suitcase for children, was successful in its claim of registered design and unregistered design right infringement by the defendant.

The claimant’s product had previously been turned down on Dragons’ Den due to the dragons deciding that the Trunki suitcase could be copied “within seven days”.  Judge Arnold of the UK High Court disagreed with the dragons.

The defendant’s product, known as the “Kiddee Case”, was deemed to infringe Magmatic’s Community Registered Design which covers the overall shape of the Trunki product.  Judge Arnold also went on to confirm that the Kiddee case infringed various unregistered design rights in specific parts of the Trunki case.

An interesting point in this case is that an early concept design by Magmatic for a children’s suitcase known as the “Rodeo” could be cited as prior art despite the fact that it was disclosed in a relatively obscure manor – at a 1998 student design competition.  On the other hand, although the Rodeo was considered a prior disclosure, its relative obscurity meant that it did not form part of the overall design corpus, against which validity of registered designs is assessed, which therefore consisted of adult suitcases only.  The Trunki product was deemed different from all known adult suitcases.

Magmatic demonstrated that the designer of a child’s ride-on suitcase had considerable design freedom over the prior art, which meant that the Trunki was considered the first product of this type. Magmatic was therefore entitled to a much broader scope of protection than it would have had in a more a crowded design field.  Consequently, although the Kiddee Case product had many points of difference to the Magmatic Community Registered Design, the overall impression on an informed user was the same, and the Kiddee Case product was held to infringe Magmatic’s design rights.

A further interesting point in this case is that the trial was heard on an expedited basis for the reason that the main selling season of suitcases is the period leading up to the summer holidays, so a quick trial was necessary to ensure that any injunction was granted before the main selling season.

For any further information on this case, please contact Ben Appleton or your usual Wilson Gunn contact.

Wilson Gunn