On 28 February 2014 the Court of Appeal ruled that the Community Registered Design (CRD) for the well-known ride-on children’s suitcase was not infringed by PMS International’s rival ‘Kiddee Case’.
This decision overturns the High Court ruling of infringement (see earlier article here). The High Court judge had earlier found that the Kiddee Case did infringe the CRD for Magmatic’s Trunki case. UK unregistered design right in specific parts of the Trunki case was also held to be infringed. It was commonly known that the ‘Kiddee Case’ was inspired by the Trunki design.
Trunki (RCD, left and marketed product, centre) vs. Kiddee Case (far right).
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On appeal, the Court found that the first instance judge had wrongly interpreted the registered design and had improperly excluded various aspects of the design of the Kiddee Case when considering whether there was infringement of the RCD. The Court of Appeal said that the first instance judge was wrong to base his assessment only on the shape of the Kiddee Case while ignoring other aspects such as the graphical surface design. In particular, the judge had failed to take into account the distinctly contrasting colour of the wheels of the Trunki (as represented in the CRD) compared to the body of the case; this is a significant feature of the Trunki CRD which is not present in the Kiddee Case.
Re-considering the matter themselves, the Court of Appeal concluded that there were many significant differences between the Kiddee Case and the Trunki CRD. For example, it was noted that the profile of the Kiddee Case was asymmetric and more rounded in profile than the Trunki design; the Kiddee Case does not have a ‘ridge’ or semi-circular cut-away on the sides; the wheels of the Kiddee Case are covered by wheel arches in the same colour as the case body.
The Court of Appeal also considered that the overall impression created by the two designs was very different. The impression created by the Trunki design CRD was that of “a horned animal” and was a “sleek and stylised design” whereas the design of the Kiddee Case was “softer and more rounded and evocative of an insect with antennae or an animal with floppy ears”.
The appeal judge concluded that “[a]t both a general and a detailed level the Kiddee Case conveys a very different impression”.
There was therefore no infringement of the registered design.
However, there was no appeal of the finding by the first instance judge that certain unregistered UK design rights for the Trunki case were infringed.
The full decision can be found here: Magmatic Ltd v PMS International Ltd  EWCA Civ 181