Leading contract furniture designer and Anti Copying in Design (ACID) member Morgan Contract Furniture has resolved its claim against PTT Design Limited. In the High Court action, Morgan claimed that PTT had copied a number of Morgan designs which PTT had then supplied to Hyatt Hotels during 2006. Morgan had been tendering for the same hotel refurbishment project.
The terms of settlement, achieved at a mediation, included undertakings from PTT and its individual directors that they would not in the future infringe design rights in seven of Morgan’s furniture designs. PTT also agreed to pay £65,000 towards damages and costs.
Rodney McMahon, Managing Director of Morgan, commented: “As Chairman of the British Contract Furniture Association, I am passionate about the industry and protecting the rights of designers. My primary objective here was to protect my business and the designs in which we had invested so heavily and which were key products for us. However, I was also keen to demonstrate that the legal process can work effectively for business if you have clear, achievable objectives and the process is well managed. I would also wholly endorse the mediation process which, when used effectively, can result in the resolution of disputes like this effectively at a relatively early stage of proceedings.”
Dids Macdonald, ACID’s Chief Executive added, “Whilst this is a just outcome for such a clear cut case, one has to ask why PTT’s advisors did not suggest that they came to the mediation table even sooner. This is a strong message to the industry that organisations like Morgan who have built their impressive reputation as design-led, world class manufacturers, will never allow their brand to be eroded by look alikes”.
Tim Ashdown, DMH Stallard
Furniture images, top to bottom Morgan Furniture’s Como, Opera and Verona original designs