IP settlement following “Cease & Desist” letter
Award winning ACID (Anti Copying in Design) members Black and Blum design, manufacturer and supply a range of stylish and contemporary interior products. In November they were shocked to discover an identical product to their award winning Loop Candelabra being offered for sale by a company named Straits on their website. Through ACID accredited law firm McDaniel & Co they fired off a strongly worded “cease and desist” letter to Straits. Subsequently, Straits agreed to remove the items from sale, destroy remaining stock and promised not to do this again in the future. In addition they agreed to make a contribution towards Black and Blum’s legal costs and also disclose the identity of the Chinese company who had manufactured the infringing product.
Dan Black of Black & Blum said, “We are proud of our success with the Loop Candelabra (Grand Design Magazine Award winner for best home accessory in June 2007, presented by Kevin McCloud) and we are determined to send a clear message to anyone who decides to replicate it. We send all our new designs to the ACID Design Data Bank and also hold registered Community designs. This means that we can enforce our rights easily with a credible audit trail behind our designs. Those who produce lookalikes are rarely able to produce archived design and development drawings”.
Andrew Lee of McDaniel & Co comments: “Black and Blum are aware of the options available to protect their innovative products. The registered design ensures maximum protection in the European Community against lookalike products whether these are deliberate copies or not, and lasts for 25 years offering protection in 27 member states. In addition, the fact that the product won an industry recognised award, is indicative of the design freedom and creativity bestowed upon the designer. This is important for infringement actions as companies with lookalike products therefore find it difficult to suggest any similar features are generic to that type of product such as the legs on a chair. Black and Blum have taken a pro-active approach to their intellectual property and have reaped the benefits.”
Dids Macdonald, ACID’s CEO added, “So often designers think that taking legal action is going all the way to Court, but as a result of ACID’s formidable track record of settlements, a cease and desist letter can send a very strong warning shot across the boughs and achieve a positive result, as has happened in Black & Blum’s case.”
Black & Blum are an Anglo-Swiss Partnership who joined forces in 1998 and are based in London, the European heart of design. As a design consultancy they advise companies on any creative aspect. This accumulating insight into different markets catalysed the decision to develop their own range of products. It has since become a vehicle to fully explore, protect and commercialise their creativity. www.blackblum.com