Author: William Burrell
5 March, 2014
The Court of Appeal has reversed the High Court ruling in relation to the Kiddee case infringing design rights, in particular a Registered Community Design (RCD), relating to the Trunki suit case. Our bulletin on the earlier High Court ruling can be found here.
In arriving at their conclusion, The Court of Appeal considered that the High Court judge had erred in his interpretation of the law in two key areas: 1) in that he had ignored the shading shown in the RCD, and this shading (in particular the contrast between the wheels and the remaining portions of the case) limited the scope of the RCD; and 2) in that he should have considered the surface decoration on the Kiddee case, since this contributed to the overall impression created by the case.
Taking these further factors into account, The Court of Appeal has decided that the Kiddee case does create a different overall impression on the informed user to that created by the RCD, and thus does not infringe.
Whilst this decision from The Court of Appeal is clearly good news for this defendant, it has raised an interesting point with regard to how surface decoration can affect the overall impression created by a product. Certainly, the decision appears in line with Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd v Apple Inc  EWCA Civ 1339 where, again, surface decoration was held to be of potential relevance when establishing the overall impression created by a product.
The decision from The Court of Appeal also reinforces the importance of ensuring that any drawings used in a Registered Design application are properly prepared, since in this case shading present in the RCD was interpreted as limiting its scope; the use of line drawings instead may have afforded the RCD a wider scope of protection.
In view of the commercial importance of this decision, providing permission is granted by The Courts, Magmatic Limited, the owner of the Trunki case, may yet appeal this decision to The Supreme Court.
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