24 May 2024, 13:33
By Furniture News Jan 19, 2016

Bluebone wins £15k in lookalike challenge

Despite not acknowledging infringement, Baumhaus Imports has paid Anti Copying in Design (ACID) member Bluebone £15,000 over a lookalike challenge.

When Bluebone discovered competitor Baumhaus was importing a furniture range known as Urban Chic which looked virtually identical to its Titanic range of furniture, the company decided to act decisively. After lengthy legal exchanges a settlement was reached, avoiding the need for court proceedings. Baumhaus claims to have made only a small profit on sales of its Urban Chic range, and has agreed to stop manufacturing or importing Urban Chic and to pay £15,000 compensation to Bluebone for its UK sales. 

Baumhaus said that the settlement would wipe out its profits on the Urban Chic range.

Dale Boal of Bluebone says: “In today's market it is increasingly challenging for companies to present original designs, concepts and ideas. As a company Bluebone make huge efforts to work with manufactures and designers to bring interesting, design-led, commercial products to our clients and retail partners. It is extremely important that we are able to avail of the services such as those offered by ACID in the battle to protect our products against copying.

"We are very pleased that by working together with Mr Olivier Lalmand, the original designer, and the services of Stone King solicitors, we were able to negotiate a halt to the import of these products and secured a level of compensation. It has certainly spurred us on to continue defending against other perceived infringements, of which we have several currently pending.”

Bluebone is the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor of the Titanic range, which was designed by Olivier Lalmand and which is protected by registered and unregistered design rights. The range is distinguished by its signature double-barrel steel frame, use of mosaic boatwood and steel drawer fronts.

ACID affiliate lawyer Gavin Llewellyn of Stone King LLP comments: “This case shows that even where there is arguably little or no profit in the sales of allegedly infringing products, the IP right owner can still claim compensation for the losses which it has suffered. In this case, Bluebone were able to take action to protect their exclusivity with the benefit of legal advice and secure a settlement which meant that they did not suffer any additional loss to their own business. This is vital for micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses, who need to safeguard their IP assets.” 

Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO, says: “The furniture sector, whilst global, is small in terms of key players. Bluebone are known for their originality and design-led capability. Who wants to be known for a lookalike challenge? What does it say about a major brand who appeared to take the fast track to market going so close to the bone?” 

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